Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Google (Gmail, Blogger, Drive, YouTube), Facebook, WordPress and Twitter mechanisms for heirs or legacy contacts to get some access/control on deceased person's account

As I thought it may be useful for some readers, I have shared below how I recently set up legacy contact mechanisms for my Google and Facebook accounts, and have provided some info. on how WordPress and Twitter handle such situations.

A) Google

Google Account -> Personal info & privacy -> Assign an account trustee (Inactive Account Manager)
Clicking on above leads you to: "Make a plan for your Google Account if you pass away or stop using Google"

I have created an Inactive Account Manager Plan. The plan's details are as follows:

1) Google will consider the account to be inactive after 3 months of inactivity

2) I have chosen 1 email id to be notified if my Google account becomes inactive and have chosen to share all my data with them then. [I used Select All option to share all my Google data: This includes the following key data that I use/have on my Google account: Blogger, Contacts, Drive, Mail, Profile and YouTube.] Note that this access will be provided (only) for 3 months after my account becomes inactive. So the legacy contact will have to pick up all my data within this period. A total of 10 such email ids can be notified. In future, if required, I may add some more email ids.

3) I have chosen that my inactive Google Account should ****NOT**** be deleted after 3 months. So I presume that my Google Blogger, Drive and Youtube public data will continue to be around for others to access indefinitely (till Google company is around and they support these products!).

B) Facebook

Settings -> General -> Manage Account

1) I have chosen a Facebook friend as my Legacy Contact. From https://www.facebook.com/help/1568013990080948: "A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it's memorialized."

2) I have provided Data Archive Permission. That allows my legacy contact to download a copy of what I've shared on Facebook. This may include posts, photos, videos and info from the About section of my Profile. Messages won't be included.

3) I have ****NOT**** chosen 'Request account deletion'. So my Facebook account will continue to be around after ....

4) I have ****NOT**** chosen 'Deactivate your account'

Unlike Google which seems to use a period of inactivity (I have chosen the 3 months default as the period of inactivity) to trigger contact with the Inactive (legacy) contact person, Facebook expects the legacy contact (or somebody else?) to inform them of the account holder having passed away using an online "Memorialisation request" here:  https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/651319028315841

C) WordPress

It seems that WordPress does not have a mechanism for an account holder to set up legacy contact data like Google and Facebook. But heirs can contact WordPress and get access to deceased user's account by giving them appropriate information as per instructions given here: Support -> Policies & Safety -> Deceased User, https://en.support.wordpress.com/deceased-user/

D) Twitter

My twitter data is not important to preserve. But the process of intimating Twitter about an account holder having passed away seems to be through this form: https://help.twitter.com/forms/privacy .

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