If your social media accounts are anything like ours here at Entyce they’ll be full of photos and happy memories from over the years, but what happens to all of this when we’re no longer around? Who owns the rights to our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts and what really happens to our digital legacy after death?
In February Facebook offered its US customers the option of closing the account down or appointing a friend or relative to take ownership when they die, but these options are not available in the UK. Instead Facebook automatically memorialises the account. This means that only already confirmed friends can view the profile. The wall remains so friends and family can post messages of remembrance but all private messages will no longer be accessible.
A recent study conducted by YouGov revealed not many people know what happens to our online material when we’ve passed and who it’s owned by. 36% believe it belongs to Facebook, 27% did not know, 20% thought next-of-kin and 17% said no-one.
So who really does own our online content?
It appears there’s no clear answer to this question as there’s currently no standard practice among online providers for how digital assets are inherited by family members or next-of-kin. Perhaps it’s time we start writing our passwords down and keeping them in a safe place!