Digital Legacy is the online presence you leave behind when you pass away. This includes any social media profiles and accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, digital music or photos to name a few. Digital Legacy is just as important as leaving a Will of physical assets for your family members. Research from Saga Legal Services has revealed that only 13% of accounts users have planned their Digital Legacy.
In the US Facebook accounts can be memorialized, but Facebook also allows users to choose a “legacy contact,” who will have the opportunity to guard the profile after the user has deceased. This process can be done on the Facebook’s setting and a message will be sent with specific details to the chosen individual. The legacy contact can be changed at any point and proof of the death must be given. There are limitations to this as Facebook allows the legacy contact to write a post for the profile to share news of a memorial service, respond to new friend requests, update pictures. Facebooks does not allow the legacy contact to log into the account to delete any old content nor read the deceased private messages.
Apple have a different policy about iTunes. They have the right to freeze an account if the user has died. This is because Apple’s policy is that any files that are bought do not belong to the user, they are just loaned to the user, thus, they cannot be passed down the generations like physical assets. But surely, this is the same as buying a CD and passing them onto your children? You have paid the money for it and you should be entitled to pass it down if you wish. Either way it is something to think about as more and more people have online access to their music, social media accounts and profiles, we need to develop a way to protect our digital legacy after death.
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