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13 million Brits also want ‘data-death’ after they die

  • 12/07/2019
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Millions of Brits are fearful of what will happen to their social media profiles and email accounts after they die, with 24% saying they would support ‘data-death’ to accompany their actual passing – the equivalent of nearly 13m people.

The Lifesearch study of 2,053 people shows the range of issues that people are failing to prepare for when it comes to dying, largely because they’re uncomfortable discussing the subject itself.

While the emotional well-being and financial security of loved ones are top death concerns, more than one in 10 are worried about the fate of their digital accounts after death but haven’t told the people closest to us what we want them to do.

Fears surround a range of factors including hacking of social media and email accounts and upset loved ones to keeping private data or messages hidden or wanting profiles to be automatically deleted.

Currently, when a person passes away, loved ones face substantial paperwork to deactivate social profiles and mail accounts.


Social media processes


Processes differ between sites and providers, but can include having to provide death certificates, sharing copies of ID, filling in forms and giving extensive information about the deceased – and some will only work with immediate family.

However, two out of five people would like to leave friends or family a digital legacy, where they can access certain assets such as music, photos and subscriptions. This could be an automatic process or even involve a nominated person acting on their behalf with their digital accounts after they die.

LifeSearch has launched its Let’s Start Talking campaign, which encourages the nation to be more open about uncomfortable subjects, including death, illness, money and mental health.

Emma Walker from LifeSearch, said: “With our online presence increasingly a part of every day life, it’s important that we consider what will happen to our social media profiles, email accounts and the thousands of photos, videos and memories that go with them.

“Understandably it’s something that not many of us are keen to discuss, but avoiding essential conversations about our digital life after death could leave our loved ones locked out, unable to take control or at the mercy of hackers should the worst happen.

“Protection all starts with one open, honest conversation so we’re urging the nation to start talking openly and honestly – if awkardly – about these issues that matter most, to not only safeguard their family’s future, but their own too.”

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