Deceased User Policies: Twitter and Facebook

August 19, 2010 Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Social Media is not a fad and is fundamentally changing the ways we interact and communicate with others.  Two of the more popular social networking websites, Twitter and Facebook, recently implemented policies that set out guidelines regarding a user’s account once they have died.

Under Twitter’s policy, a person can either request that the deceased user’s account be removed entirely or receive an archive of all the deceased user’s tweets offline once they have provided Twitter with the following information:

1.                  Your full name, contact information (including e-mail address), and your relationship to the deceased user; 

 2.                  The username of the Twitter account, or a link to the profile page of the Twitter account.  

 3.                  A link to a public obituary or news article.

By comparison, Facebook provides two options: either removing the deceased’s account, or "memorializing" it.

Memorializing a person’s account “means the account lives on in Facebook’s system, and other Facebook members can interact with the deceased member’s wall. What’s interesting about what Facebook put into place, compared to Twitter, is that there’s still a great deal of emphasis put on privacy and what can be done with the information that user has posted to the service. For instance, only that user’s friends can still visit the profile or find it in Facebook’s public search tool. And Facebook goes so far as to remove all status updates and contact information.”

It is hard to imagine that Facebook and Twitter will remain an important part of our lives many years from now, but Facebook has grown from 300 million to 500 million users in less than a year, with few signs of that slowing down. This is an indication that “policies about a user’s death can end up being just as important as those you agree to when you first sign up.”

Thank you for reading, and have a great day.
 

Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.

 

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