What happens to your social media accounts after you die?

social media accounts after death white coffin funeral
Have you thought about your own death lately, or ever? Having a will is a good idea, so any preferences you have about who gets what are followed. Also, a will helps protect your family or whoever you leave behind from spending what can easily take years to clean up the messy loose ends of your life. So definitely get a will just to be nice to your family, even if you don’t have many possessions. But what about your social media accounts? What happens to them?

Hopefully, the third time will be the charm for Californian legislation backed by both parties, according to Fusion. Two previous attempts at bills never made it out of committee for various reasons. Some thought the earlier attempts valued the privacy of the deceased over the wishes of the family, according to Fusion. Assembly Bill No. 691 was approved by the Judiciary Committee and can now go forward for legislative approval. The title of the bill is the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. That’s legalese for, “here’s what you do with someone’s social media accounts after they die.”

So what does AB 691 say anyway? It’s basically a three-stage process.

If you have previously made arrangements with a social media platform about what to do if you die, the proposed law says do that. That’s stage one.

Google, for example, has an Inactive Account Manager. With it, you can set a timeout period, basically a length of time after which Google will classify your account as “inactive.” You can set alerts to be sent to you before the account goes inactive — which won’t do much good if you’re dead. You can “add trusted contacts who should be made aware that you are no longer using your account.” And you can also just instruct Google to delete your account. With Facebook accounts, you can specify whether you want to be memorialized or have your account deleted.

If you didn’t leave set up social media accounts to handle your perpetual absence, then any instructions you left in your will will be followed. The instructions could also be in a trust, power of attorney, or other legal document. That’s the second stage. It may sound simple, but wills are seldom so straightforward. Scrawling “delete everything when I die” on a napkin probably won’t cut it. Seek competent advice on this one, which should apply to any will you make anyway.

Stage three — meaning no prior settings and no mention in a will, trust, or legal-whatever — then the social media platform’s terms of service will apply. This last alternative is way too slippery, because as you likely know, companies can change their terms of service at will.

So, assuming this legislation does pass and assuming — since the terms seem pretty straightforward — that most states will follow California’s lead with the same or similar, now’s the time to take action. Find the settings menus of your various social media accounts, especially the ones with those photos, and declare via the settings what will happen when you die. Wills are complicated and terms of service slip-and-slide.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…

Want to share your Xbox One games with a friend? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Social Media

LinkedIn finally gets around to launching its own live video tool

Live video is coming to LinkedIn for businesses and individuals on the site. The livestreaming feature is launching in beta in the U.S. before rolling out to the entire community.