What happens to your social networks when you die?


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Many people plan for the day they will leave this earth, whether it is making a will or even making their own funeral arrangements.

It is a dark subject.

But what about your social media pages? What happens to those? Social media platforms keep us connected, but they can also remind us of our loss.

Current estimates show that over 80% of all Americans, young and old, have some type of social media profile – from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Tik Tok.

However, “when you’re gone, your social media is still there,” said Bill Gardner, assistant professor at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

“I still get birthday notifications from those who passed away years ago,” he added.

But do you want birthdays and anniversaries reminders sent to people after you pass away?

“We all have wills. We have plans for what happens to our business when we transmit, but we don’t always think about social media, ”Gardner said.

There are ways to fight your “digital death”. Facebook, for example, has a setting that lets you assign an “old contact” who takes control of your page (or removes it entirely) after your visit.

Of course, not everyone would take this last step. “When we lose a loved one, we really try to maintain a certain attachment to them,” said Dr. Jason Newsome, a counselor.

While connecting with our loved ones who have passed through social media can be a good thing, Newsome offers a word of warning.

“I think it might also hinder our ability to go through the grieving process. It can cause us to become too attached to a memory and too attached to an identity that no longer exists, ”Newsome said.

Gardner said there was another risk.

“Bad guys can then take over and send spam, phishing or other types of messages,” he said.

So it’s important to entrust your digital assets to the right people.

According to Oxford University Research 2019, by 2100, there could be nearly 5 billion Facebook accounts of people who are no longer living.

“I guess you live on the Internet forever if nothing else. When you pass, there you are. You are a digital ghost, ”Gardner said.


About Madeline Powers

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