One in three Britons wants every trace of their social media presence to be wiped out when they die, fearing posts might come back to haunt them, a new poll found.
An estimated 4.5 billion people (around 57 percent of the world’s population) use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, but only a few make plans about how their online profiles should be handled after their death.
The study carried out by Affordable funerals also found that one in nine would like them to be turned into posthumous memorials.
CEO Howard Hodgson said, “Many of us avoid talking about death because we feel uncomfortable, but it is actually one of the most important conversations we can have.
“It’s important to speak openly and honestly with your family about what should happen after you die so they know exactly how to deal with everything from the funeral to social media accounts.
“Some like the idea of having an online shared space where mourners can gather to pay their respects, but it’s interesting that so many people want their online presence to be completely wiped out after they die.
“This could be because of fear that their profiles will not last with time, or they might prefer to be remembered for their real-life connections instead.
“Our social media posts reflect our current personalities, but there is always the risk that we will look back 50 years from now and be humiliated by what we thought was interesting or funny.
“Attitudes in society also change over time, so it is possible that a caption or photo, which may now be nothing unusual, will be interpreted as sexist or discriminatory in a few decades – or perhaps just the opposite, when the pendulum swings back in the future. ” .
“Social media may be the last thing you think about after losing a loved one, but features like birthday reminders and photo anniversaries can create new pain across the board.
“Only when we talk to our loved ones about the often ignored subject of death can we really ensure that our wishes can be granted after we leave.”
Facebook is currently the most popular social media site with around 2.9 billion monthly active users, followed by YouTube with 2 billion.
Others are the photo sharing site Instagram, the microblogging site Twitter, and the video sharing network TikTok, all of which have significant numbers of users.
Users may not be aware that every site has its own set of rules for what happens when a user dies.
These are as follows:
After your death, a friend or family member can request your profile on the website. will Memorial page with the word “reminder” prepended to your name and your posts and photos remain visible.
If you have plans to make plans before you die, you can appoint an “Old Contact” – a person who will maintain your memorial page and do tasks like responding to friend requests and pinning your posts.
However, you cannot log into your account and therefore cannot delete anything.
If you want your Facebook profile to be completely deleted after your death, you can do so in your settings.
Facebook also recommends that friends and family can create a new group where people can collect and share memories if they want.
The popular photo sharing site is owned by Facebook, so it makes sense that the rules should be similar for both platforms.
Friends and family of the deceased can apply for the account became a memorial page, requiring proof of death such as a death certificate, online news article, or obituary.
After a death, no one is allowed to log in to the site, but the immediate family can also request that the site be completely removed.
As the newest kid on the social media block, TikTok doesn’t seem to have any formal guidelines for a user’s death.
There is no way to convert the account into a memorial.
It is best to leave clear instructions for a loved one to have your account deleted after your death if you so wish.
The microblogging platform Twitter does not currently offer any means of reminding people after a death, but is to be introduced shortly.
Twitter bosses were forced to rethink their policies after many users complained that deleting a deceased person’s account prevented people from revisiting past conversations and remembering the deceased.
At the moment, the only way to apply is have the account removed fully.
The study, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Affordable Funerals, asked 1,000 British adults about their attitudes towards death.
Around 34 percent of those surveyed expressed the desire to completely remove their social media profiles. Only 12 percent said they wanted to “remain as an online memorial”, while another 12 percent chose to “stay active but not be updated”.
Another seven percent chose to keep accounts active to be updated by family and friends, the same percentage who wanted them made private.
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