Facebook to let users choose 'digital heirs' to look after their accounts when they die

Facebook to let users choose ‘digital heirs’ to look after their accounts when they die

Facebook will let its users decide what to do with its account when they die.

The new feature — a marked break in how the site deals with the accounts of those who have passed away — will allow users to appoint a “Facebook heir” who will look after the account and will be allowed to make certain changes. They will also be able to choose to have their account deleted entirely.

The heirs will be able to pin posts, respond to new friend requests and update profile pictures. But they will be restricted from other changes, including creating new posts or deleting photos.

Before, Facebook opted just to freeze members’ accounts when it learned that they had died. That meant that the page’s stayed online, but couldn’t be changed. If users don’t opt to leave a digital will, the company will freeze the profile in a process called “memorialization”, leaving everything with the privacy settings that were left when users died.

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The new feature is thought to be a response to family’s wishes to use Facebook profiles to remember their owners.

The option will be rolled out to users in the US on Thursday, with it expanding to different places after that.

Users will choose the heirs in Facebook’s security settings. Only one user can be chosen.

If users don’t choose a Facebook heir but name a digital heir in a normal will, Facebook will honour that choice.

It is an attempt to walk the line between protecting the privacy of the people who own profiles, and allowing grieving friends and families to access the site, as the Wall Street Journal notes. That is a balance that many other internet companies have to tread as they decide how to deal with the accounts and data of those users that have died.

Google introduced a similar system of “digital heirs” in 2013, allowing users to decide what will happen with users’ data after they pass away or become inactive for some time.

“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife–in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone,” wrote Google product manager Andreas Tuerk in a blog post at the time.

Make a Plan for Your Digital Estate, Too

Make a Plan for Your Digital Estate, Too

With the recent integration of the digital world into daily life, the consideration of digital assets in estate planning is becoming increasingly important. Individuals are now leaving behind a multitude of digital content when they die, including information stored within social media profiles, emails, blogs, and media files, that can be passed on through a digital estate plan.

For those who spend time creating assets in the digital world, it is important to speak with estate trustees to ensure that it is known what digital assets exist and how they are to be managed after death. With estate planning, it is always a great idea to communicate wishes directly to estate trustees, and digital estate planning is no exception. Alternatively, active steps can be taken to organize digital assets and make arrangements for their transfer or destruction.

With Google’s new Inactive Account Manager, individuals with Google accounts can now control how their information will be dealt with after a prolonged period of inactivity. If a user does not log-in for the specified timeframe, of a minimum of three months, content can then be forwarded, with or without a customized message that may include instructions regarding the use of digital assets, or permanently deleted in accordance with the user’s wishes.

The Inactive Account Manager program, made available in April 2013, is an important development in digital estate planning for two primary reasons. First, it illustrates that digital assets are being taken seriously by the Internet technology industry in terms of after-life decisions. People are investing more and more time creating a body of work on the Internet, especially through social media profiles. The availability of this new Google feature indicates that digital assets, especially with respect to the younger generation, will be dealt with in a serious manner going forward.

Secondly, the program gets people thinking about estate planning in general. Digital assets are becoming a more important aspect of a person’s estate, and warrant serious consideration when it comes to estate planning. As with planning as it relates to other classes of assets, it is important that these assets can pass in a way that has affords a degree of dignity. Programs like the Inactive Account Manager serve as a reminder to get organized with an estate plan that incorporates how digital assets should be managed on death.

Without a digital estate plan, a number of problems can arise. Accounts left open long after death can make the deceased an easy target for identity theft, implicating other non-digital estate assets. Further, automatic online bill payments can continue following death and deplete the assets of the estate. Account information and contents are more obvious components of digital estates, but valuable digital assets and intellectual property, such as rights to domain names, may also be present and remain undiscovered during traditional estate administration absent a digital estate plan. Digital estate planning can allow access to the necessary documents to pass on these assets to the intended beneficiaries.

In addition to communication with your estate trustee regarding digital assets and using programs like Google’s Account Inactivity Manager,Legacy Locker, and Estate Map, steps can be taken during one’s lifetime to facilitate digital estate management. The creation of a complete list of online accounts and profiles with login information and, if necessary, the appointment of a separate “digital estate trustee” who is technologically capable, may prove helpful in the smooth management and transition of the digital aspects of an estate.

The distribution of certain assets after death, such as e-books and music files, is protected by user agreements. Sites like Google and Facebook may also own some of the information that we choose to share through these platforms. Absent state or provincial law stating otherwise, it is the service agreements with Internet companies that determine the rules for how our digital estates can be managed.

With the ongoing transformation of the digital world, the law relating to digital assets has fallen behind. This presents a significant challenge to digital estate planning. However, with a greater number of tools becoming available to facilitate the transfer of digital assets, digital estate planning is becoming both more relevant and accessible.

The dead can now pass on Bitcoin and Twitter followers in their will

The dead can now pass on Bitcoin and Twitter followers in their will

Vast areas of people’s lives are now lived out in the digital world. Social media profiles, financial accounts and professional and personal emails are now regarded as digital assets and they are closely protected in life by passwords and access codes. But these protective measures can become unwelcome obstacles when someone dies, leaving behind a complicated and confusing digital legacy.

Often relatives and friends don’t know how much their loved ones have locked up in their e-wallets and PayPal accounts. But the UK’s Planned Departure is now offering users a comprehensive way to organize and protect their digital legacy, allowing the recently deceased to pass on assets such as Bitcoin and Twitter followers.

Komal Joshi founded the startup after the death of her own father in 2010, when she encountered problems finding the passwords and secret answers for all his online accounts. Functioning similarly to a traditional will and testament, Planned Departure’s customers can rest assured that whoever is involved with administering their estate will be able to access every part of their digital existence — eliminating time and effort spent dealing with digital service companies, and the distress it can cause for bereaved loved ones.

Users can sign up for the service indefinitely for GBP 199.99 or pay an annual fee of GBP 19.99. They then list their assets and their wishes for each one. These can include digital inheritance from e-wallets, currencies such as Bitcoin and AirMiles, sentimental documents such as photographs, text files and digital libraries of eBooks or downloaded music. Users with popular social media accounts — a Twitter account with many followers for example — can even donate them to a designated charity, enabling them to exploit their marketing value for a good cause.

Are there other ways that digital services can make it easier to deal with the assets that the deceased leave behind?

Planning Your Digital Legacy

Planning Your Digital Legacy

Digital legacy, Uncategorized

Years ago, even just going back a decade or two, when an unexpected death occurred it was up to somebody to find out in the obituaries or by talking to somebody else. The problem is that you don’t really get to pick your own terms when it comes to leaving this world, so making sure that you depart with your legacy intact and your last will provided for is actually a lot more difficult than it used to be.

Dying in this day and age is really a double whammy; it involves the actual physical self, and now, the digital self. The more active you are online the bigger your digital self becomes. While the physical self dies, the digital self stays hanging out in cyberspace for who knows how long. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., all ensure that we live on even after we are gone.

So what’s one to do about that digital legacy left behind? Services like Afternote have become far more popular, making sure that you leave everything behind in the right manner is hugely important. Leaving a digital legacy, provides the opportunity to manage your affairs when the worst occurs. Messages can be sent to the right people after your passing, and should you choose, you can have your e-mail and social media profiles removed entirely from the web.

You can even create a memorial page or have your account removed straight away – which do you think you would prefer? It’s the chance to leave behind all the content and details that you want about your life and your ending, and gives you the chance to make sure that nothing is left unsaid to your loved ones.

So what happens should you choose not to have a memorial page? Well the truth is if the social media platforms are not informed of someone’s passing, its business as usual. For some, reminders on social media are comforting and help with the grieving process. Reminiscing through comments and posts back and forth through the years will take you back in time and bring fond memories. However for others social media reminders of a loved one’s death can be extremely heart-breaking.

With Facebook, If a deceased user’s timeline is not memorialised, that profile could appear in Facebook suggestions, maybe as “People You May Know “or “suggest this page to Kelly”. Their birthdays will reappear year after year, prompting ‘Happy Birthday’ wishes from individuals unaware of their death. Many profiles will continue to surface in Sponsored Stories, which promote users’ activity and likes from months and years past (e.g., “Kelly likes Afternote”).

Gary Rycroft, a member of the Law Society Wills and Equity Committee, said ‘people should not assume family members know where to look online and to make details of their digital life absolutely clear’.

However, today we entrust huge amounts of faith in the internet. We happily store our bank details, our address and other important factual information. Digital footprints are growing, and seeing to it that these footprints stop at the end of the line forever is very important. Even once you pass on from this world, your digital assets will be taken care of and looked after as per your instructions – this makes a digital legacy so important to anyone who thinks they might need one.

By organising a digital legacy, you can guarantee that your assets are distributed equally and fairly, and you can make sure that every goodbye message you wanted to send out there is actually already active. Should you leave the account in the hands of a family member, they can choose to delete the account at a later date.

Does this sound like something you should be trying to plan for in the future?

Controlling your digital legacy

Planning your digital demise : what will happen to your social media profiles when you die?

What happens to you when you die?

I don’t know (I hope that you weren’t really anticipating me to have a solution), although I am in a position to shed some mild on what happens to you on social media as soon as you move on.

If you’re the kind of individual that has a penchant for TLDR’ing articles, I have included a fairly infrographic by WebFX under which will contact on most of what I am masking:

XKCD estimate that Facebook’s useless customers will probably outnumber their residing ones by round 2065 and the complete web site will be abandoned a someday after 2100. Scary thought that, although of all of the social media accounts, Facebook supplies essentially the most refined vary of choices with regards to what happens to that account after you die. Basically the destiny of your profile may go 4 methods:

  • The profile stays untouched, un-accessed, and unreported – due to this fact it’s enterprise as normal. This implies that folks can see your wall posts, tag you in pictures, point out you in a standing and so on.
  • A shut member of the family can petition Facebook to deactivate a deceased consumer’s account.
  • A cherished one can report the demise to Facebook and upon receipt of proof of dying Facebook will swap the lifeless consumer’s timeline to a “memorial web page.” Doing this will imply solely present buddies can publish to the web page or tag the person in pictures. Important: Once a web page has been ‘memorialised’ you can not revert it again to an everyday account.
  • Lastly, customers might acquire entry to a lifeless person’s profile in considered one of two methods:
  1. Through information of the useless consumer’s password (although Facebook just isn’t actually a fan of that)
  2. Through a court docket order, although Facebook’s phrases of service are fairly clear about this and it’s pretty unlikely that you will have the opportunity to entry a liked one’s account after their demise.

Among social media websites, Twitter has one of many easiest policies relating to the loss of life of a consumer.

Put merely, Twitter will work with an authorised consultant of the deceased to deactivate your account.

According to their coverage, if your liked one has died, deleting their account is all that you will find a way to do – you can not entry it your self because it legally stays property of the proprietor.

While your profile and all your tweets will disappear into the web nether, your username will equally be protected and different customers will be unable to declare it.

In addition to this Twitter additionally actively hunts out and deletes inactive accounts after S months (simply in case you’re planning on hiding out in the course of nowhere for some time).

Google and their plethora of providers (Gmail, Google +, Google Drive and so forth.) are all accessed by way of a single Google account. As such, their insurance policies concerning deceased customers seem to be the identical for all.

Frustratingly (a minimum of when it comes to writing a weblog put up), there are not any exhausting and quick guidelines relating to what they’ll do with your account after you die.

What we do know is that Google will delete your account after N months (or no matter time you have beforehand set with the ‘inactive account supervisor’). This is maybe essentially the most elegant method to deal with inactivity or demise as designated customers (up to 10) will be mechanically notified at this level and will have the opportunity to entry and obtain your information in the event that they like.

Otherwise the account and all the knowledge that’s contained inside it will disappear.

If you end up within the place of getting to deactivate a liked one’s account you can accomplish that by way of offering Google with a loss of life certificates and the total header and content material of an e mail from their Gmail account.

As with every part there’s an exception, and Google will “in uncommon instances present the account content material to an authorised consultant of the deceased person”.

LinkedIn is just going to deactivate an account as soon as a person has been reported as deceased. You’re not going to have the opportunity to entry a deceased individuals account except “LinkedIn has a superb religion perception that disclosure is permitted by legislation” or they want to accomplish that to adjust to a authorized ruling.

You can deactivate the account of a liked one by way of offering LinkedIn with that members title, your relationship to them, the corporate they labored for, a hyperlink to their profile, and their e mail deal with.

A phrase of warning, as soon as the account is deactivated the username is up for grabs and there’s nothing to cease somebody from claiming it.

Guess what? You may be as inactive as you like and your Pinterest account will stick round for so long as Pinterest continues to be a factor.

Pinterest states that “as a result of they need to respect the privateness of our Pinners, we are able to’t give out any private or log in data”. There seem to be no exceptions to this.

However, via the usage of official documentation (a dying certificates and proof of your relationship to the deceased) you can have somebody’s account deactivated.

I guess the important thing takeaways from this are that each social media website has a unique means of dealing with deceased customers, and whereas you is likely to be in good well being in the intervening time, it’s not a foul concept to make a plan for your knowledge within the occasion of your passing.

Unsurprisingly ‘digital legacy administration ’ companies like Entrust.internet and My Wonderful Life have sprung up in response to this and will assist social media customers make dying preparations.