Social Media after death

by Victor M. Rodriguez on Feb. 26, 2015


Summary: Plan ahead to determine what to do with your digital life after you die.

Nearly 500,000 people with Facebook accounts passed away last year.  What happens to those accounts?  As of now, it’s up to friends and family to decide what to do with your profile.  Some leave them open so loved ones can post memories, some opt to convert the profiles to a memorial and some delete them completely.  This is a big project for grieving loved ones to take on, especially if they find information they aren’t expecting to see.  While it may be nice for loved ones to go back and read posts, others may be offended by new content being added by someone who’s taken it upon themselves to speak for you.

What about email accounts? Ideally, email accounts would have a self destruct option that any personal information that you don’t want shared would just implode. Unfortunately, unless you’re a secret agent or Stephen Hawking, this is an unlikely option.  Having something in your will would allow you to select a trusted friend or family member sift through your info, pass on what is pertinent, and delete whatever is not.  In addition to random jokes and communication with friends, there is probably some sensitive information in nearly any email account that the owner of the account may not want shared.  While they may no longer be affected by the contents of their inbox, the  subject of sensitive messages may be. Whomever you choose to take care of sifting through years of electronic communications would have to be someone you trust to not share or not even read things that you ask them not to. The temptation may be too great for many.

Have you thought about how you’d like your information to be handled if something were to happen to you? It is never to soon to think and act on this subject.  

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