Facebook after death: Should family get deceased's social media passwords?
Facebook after death: A Canadian girl who committed suicide after being bullied still has an active Facebook page where those who bullied her in life continue to bully her in death. New Hampshire lawmakers are considering legislation giving social media account information to the executor of the deceased person's estate.
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There are alternatives already available including Entrustet, a free service that enables an account holder to pass on digital assets to up to 10 designated heirs and one executor, who is in charge of executing a person's digital wishes after they pass away. Digital assets include social networks, financial accounts, blogs, e-mails and other Internet properties or files. For other online solutions see http://mashable.com/2010/10/11/social-media-after-death/Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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Still, as a parent, I would certainly hope the family’s rights to stop bullies would trump those of a service provider and if they don’t currently they certainly should. I have always insisted my sons who are under 18 put all their passwords in a family book I keep. And while it chafes them, it has also saved them when they forgot the codes.
However, as a wife I’m a little guarded about what I may have let slip after a spat when chatting on Facebook with my best friend. If I pass on, do I really want that to be the last thing my husband sees if he goes looking through my accounts for happy memories? It’s tricky out there in the virtual world.
I wish the Facebook App Exfoliate program that routinely scrubs your wall free of all previous posts, photos, and chats were still available.
Five states – Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma and Rhode Island – have laws addressing some of the concerns. According to AP, the Connecticut and Rhode Island laws address only e-mail accounts while Idaho, Indiana, and Oklahoma include micro-blogging, short message service, and social networking accounts.
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So here I sit pondering the ins and outs of creating something I would not do for my body, but would consider for my intellectual property health: Does my Twitter account require an Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) and a living will for all my social media? The ACHD in the event that I go ga-ga (and not in in a Bad Romance kind of way) and need someone with power of attorney to stay my hands from the keyboard before I libel the free world and the other would just shut the accounts down for good and all.
I’m more likely to invest in a virtual lockbox for my passcodes and leave it to my kids as I myself take the time to erase any threads of shame or better yet, avoid creating them.
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