Keeping you current

You Can Now Inherit Someone’s Facebook Account

When you die in Delaware, you no longer need to die online.

(ERproductions Ltd/Blend Images/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

Your will lays out who gets what—your money and other assets are divvied up among your favorite friends and family—and long-established rules determine how your physical and financial assets are handled in your passing. Yet there's one glaring oversight in all this—dealing with digital assets, like social media accounts or websites.

As it stands, when you die, your digital accounts often become inaccessible. Family can ask for your Facebook page to be frozen as a memorial, but they can't take it over, says ABC News. A new law in Delaware, however, is set to change how the state's residents handle digital assets. Under the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act, says Ars Technica, digital accounts can now be handed down just like anything else.

This change matters, because more and more often people tend to be keeping things online rather than in hard copy. A deleted Facebook account can mean years of photos gone into the aether. In other cases, digital accounts like online video game profiles can actually be worth significant amounts of real money.

According to lawyers interviewed by Ars Technica, there may be some privacy problems with the new law: imagine your family having full access to years' worth of Facebook chat logs or Twitter direct messages. But since the decision to hand over the keys rests with you, hopefully you'll have a chance to scrub everything down before you kick the bucket.

[H/t 5 Intriguing Things]

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |
Tags

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus