Have you ever wondered what happens to your social networking profile if you were to die? Most people don’t like to think about dying, but this is one of the reasons that you should consider carefully what you do online. Someone may look at what you have written online after you die and we don’t always post things that we want our family to see. In any case, there are policies on some of these social networking sites that cover you in case of your death. It may be wise to let your family know what you wish to have done with your social networking sites after you are gone. You may wish that it be deleted or that the family or friends post updates for you letting people know what happened. It should be noted that the family should make themselves aware of what can happen once they notify a site of their death.
On FaceBook, you can have the person’s memorialized by the website itself. This sounds like a great idea for survivors of the loved one they lost. The problem is that FaceBook then deletes files that it deems necessary to delete. That’s not a good thing if you want all the memories there. It is a good thing for the deceased if there were things on the profile that he/she may not want a lot of people to see. The other thing is that no one can go into the account and grab photos, videos or anything else that might help them preserve special memories that may only be located on the site. Let your family know if you want the site to be memorialized or not and if you do, be aware that they may not get the things off the account that you may most want them to have.
MySpace doesn’t have a clear cut policy on a deceased persons profile. They will not allow someone else to take charge of the account so if you want to be sure that someone can control the account or have them delete the account, you must leave your password and username for them so that they can do so. MySpace will remove the profile, but only by request of the deceased person’s family. MySpace will not remove the profile, ever, from MySpace unless it is requested. That means you can remain not logged in for years and the profile will still show up. That, along with no one being able to go into the account to delete spam comments and other things makes this the worst site for memorializing a person on the internet.
Twitter, another giant in the social networking field, has enacted a policy for deceased people on Twitter. It appears that Twitter was recommending profiles of people who had passed away. The site will now remove that accounts if someone contacts them to have the account removed due to death. They will even get a back up file for family members of the public records for the account. They won’t allow family or friends to get personal information that was never made public though. That is a privacy matter and again, if you want someone to have access to the account, make sure the password and username are readily available to them.
Google is one of the most important sites to remember when someone dies. People sign onto Google accounts with the hopes of enjoying one of the best possible search engines ever created. What they don’t think about is what will happen to the tons of information that will be left behind when the user dies. There is a policy in place for Gmail that will allow survivors to contact the company for the information in the emails. It is a very long and drawn out process as well. You have to have a lot of proof for who you are and that the user is indeed dead. This can create many problems for family members who need to get into the account to contact others. The account can simply be deleted as well by the Google team. That is a relatively new addition to their policy on deceased users. Although this isn’t a social networking site like FaceBook, it is big enough to be concerned about it.
These are the major players in the social networking game. Your life doesn’t necessarily end when you die. It can go on forever within the pages of the internet that people visit. Make sure your family and friends know exactly what you want in case of your death. They may not want to delete the profiles right away, but at least they will know exactly what you wanted to happen and eventually they will see it through.