Thursday, March 31, 2016

What Happens To Your Facebook Account When You Die?

What Happens To Your Facebook Account When You Die?

By the year 2098, there will be more dead people than living people on Facebook, according to analysis by a statistics student at the University of Massachusetts.
But the only way to take control over how you appear to the world after death is to do so now, while you are still alive.
There’s several ways to do this - including putting passwords into your will, so that relatives can access your accounts.
Legally speaking, any downloaded albums, e-books and games you’ve bought are no longer yours after death - you purchase a ‘licence’ to use them, which expires on death.
But gaining access even to a relative’s photo albums without a password can sometimes be extremely difficult.
Earlier this year, a bereaved Canadian woman was told by Apple representatives, ‘You need a court order,’ to access her husband’s Apple ID account - despite having provided a will, a notarized death certificate, and the serial numbers of an iPad and a Mac.
Peggy Bush said, ‘I thought it was ridiculous. I could get the pensions, I could get benefits. But from Apple, I couldn’t even get a silly password.’
It’s something worth considering if you ARE making a will - but with many services, there are steps you can take now to control your ‘digital inheritance’.
Facebook - you can choose to disappear or be ‘memorialised’

After you die, your relatives will be able to ‘memorialize’ your account - which means it won’t show up in searches, among other things - or remove it.
Your relatives will be able to do this without your password, needing only a proof of your death (ie a newspaper obituary), and verification of their identity.
If they choose to memorialize you your profile will say,  ‘Remembering NAME’ with the date of your death.
But if you’ve got strong preferences either way, you can decide to be deleted, or memorialised, and store this preference in your Facebook account.
Facebook’s instructions on how to do this are here.
You’ll need to nominate a ‘Legacy Contact’, and when you die, they will be able to delete your page.
Google - you can save your data IF you tell them first

Google has a really good, clear policy on what happens to your account - and to information such as documents and photos after your death.
It really pays to set this up in advance via Inactive Account Manager, so that relatives will get access to information such as photos after a preset period of account inactivity (ie you not logging into your account).
Google says, ‘You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason. For example, you can choose to have your data deleted - after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity.
‘Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.
‘Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.’
If someone you know has died, you’ll be able to access some of their Google stuff - including funds in their Google account, by contacting Google via this page.
Apple - it’s complicated

Apple support will help families close down an account after someone has died - you’ll need a death certificate, though.
Accessing other content - including getting into iPhones locked by a PIN - is more problematic, and may require a court order.
Unlike other digital accounts, Apple does not offer clear instructions on your rights, or on how to ‘pass on’ content stored in your Apple account - including, for instance, photos stored in iCloud after death.
In Apple’s contract, it says, ‘You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death.’
Twitter – you can shut down accounts, but not access them

Twitter has a service where you can request that accounts owned by a deceased relative or friend are closed down – but you won’t be able to access the account yourself, under any circumstances.
Twitter says, ‘We are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased.’

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