Monday, March 11, 2013

What happens to social media data after you die?

I was listening to NPR, and they were talking about data stored in social media accounts: What happens to your data in your social media accounts once you die?  It sounds like a morbid question to be asking until we remind ourselves that Facebook has +1 billion users.

"It's estimated that three Facebook users die every minute. Those accounts used to be deleted, but now the company offers the option to memorialize those pages..."
- 3/11 NPR News Hours

It pauses an interesting question.  Who is the rightful owner of the data?  Can friends and relative get access to the data once you're gone?  What should you be doing to keep track of online digital records?

In an era where majority of population carries smartphone with internet connection, we are storing increasing volume of data than we care to admit.  With advent of wearable devices, such as Google Glass and talking shoes, the amount of data will only increase.

I haven't given much thought to it yet.  But my initial thought is to give users more control of how and when the data is used.  I think there is a space where personal data management company can enforce privacy policy across multiple social media sites as configured by the user.  In effect, users will interface with the online privacy company to make sure they can represent the users.

Given users are part of products at social media sites, this would be a welcome change.  But it would also mean social media won't be free if you are using their privacy service.

Would you be interested in using such a service?


  1. Your work has always been a great source of inspiration for me. I refer you blog to many of my friends as well.