How can you begin to plan for what will happen to your social media accounts after you pass on? The digital afterlife can be just as demanding and confusing as creating a will or clarifying your final wishes. And those who are the victims of unfortunate accidents or illness have even less power to act in the best interests of their friends and loved ones, particularly as regards their online presence. So what can be done in the short term to address this troubling question?
Look at the options provided by your social media website. Facebook has very recently launched an initiative called a 'legacy contact'. This option, found in your general settings, allows you to select a close friend or relative who will manage and curate your Facebook page after you are passed on. They will be the only person able to administrate your Facebook page, and will be able after the time of your death to post information about your life, allow others to post remembrances, and remove inappropriate comments. They will not be able to post as you, or view your messages, so your privacy will be maintained after your passing.
Twitter has a similar feature, though your past information will not be available to the person you select to manage your account in the future. Other social media platforms are beginning to follow suit, so if you belong to an app or another platform your are best to e-mail their support and inquire as to options. Remember also that e-mail accounts will still be in existence, and you may wish to request that a friend or loved one de-activate your e-mail.
Though the options are far from perfect, more and more platforms are beginning to address the need for options as users pass on, and the protocols of the digital afterlife are becoming clearer as time progresses. Of course it is prudent to look at the options currently offered by your social media, but it isn't a bad idea to also have written into your will your wishes for your data as well. A pinch of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, even online.