Three Facebook users die every minute. This adds up to approximately 1.78 million Facebook accounts around the world. What happens to these and other online profiles after death? Will questionable photos and personal information linger online for eternity? Online reputation management following death has become a topic of great discussion amongst social media experts.
“While many people prepare a will to manage what happens to their possessions after their death, most have likely not considered what happens to their digital information,” said Jeff Quipp, the founder of Canada’s largest and most trusted internet marketing company, Search Engine People. “Photos from wild parties might not be the lasting impression a person may wish to leave when they die.”
Quipp recommends the executor of the will, also assume responsibility for managing the online legacy. To accomplish this, he provides the following information:
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Email accounts: With email providers such as Gmail, in the event of death, the account can stay open forever. Next of kin, however, will be allowed to access emails and can request to have it deleted. If Hotmail accounts are left inactive for a period of time, the email account along with all the information will be eventually deleted. For both email providers, in order to access the email account, next of kin will need to supply specific information. This includes:
· The family member’s full name
· Contact information
· A verifiable email address
· The Gmail email address of the deceased person
· Proof of death
Facebook: This popular social networking site will delete the page if a family requests it or turn it into a memorial page by filling out a form on Facebook. Facebook will then remove sensitive information on the account like status updates and will only allow current friends to access the page.
MySpace: This site does not allow family members to edit or delete content. They can, however, request to have the account deleted by emailing account care and providing documentation such as a death certificate.
Twitter: The user’s account can be removed by family members who provide the required information and can help save a backup of public tweets.
Search Engine People (SEP) is Canada’s largest and most trusted Internet marketing company. It was established in 2001 in response to the market need for a search engine optimization (SEO) company that delivers reliable, measurable results. Founded as Quipp Internet Marketing Solutions (QIMS), the company evolved into a full-service Internet Marketing firm and was rebranded in 2003 as Search Engine People Inc. Its team of over 60 seasoned experts is the trusted choice for over 600 clients worldwide, including many of Canada’s top brands.