Tuesday November 12, 2019
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About 8,000 Facebook Users Die Daily, is Your Digital Will Ready?

Like Facebook, Instagram memorialises accounts but they can't be changed and no one can log into the profile

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook is just one of the several social media platforms. Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Reddit and others have flooded us, garnering millions of users.

There are over two billion people on Facebook, over 1.5 billion on WhatsApp, one billion on Instagram and 336 million on Twitter — out of which millions are from India.

Despite spending a sizable amount of time on digital platforms, few of us actually ponder over what will happen to our digital possessions once we die.

The big question is: How to make digital platforms realise the need to transfer digital assets – personal photos, videos and friendly posts — to the family once a member is no more.

“When someone dies leaving behind his email and social media accounts, the same are movable property and that being so, any heirs of the concerned person can seek right to access the same,” says Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts.

Facebook lets people choose a legacy contact — a family member or friend who can manage their account when they pass away.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialize the account,” says Facebook.

The legacy contact will be able to write a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline.

If someone likes, he or she may give legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook.

The legacy contact, however, will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages. Alternatively, you can let Facebook know to have the account permanently deleted after death.

A “digital heir” can preserve precious social media moments of the deceased and gift those to future generations via tools such as an external hard disk, Cloud storage, pen drive or DVDs.

The said heirs can ask the digital/social media companies to get access after giving the necessary proof.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Invariably, the service provider may not be inclined to give such access without any requisite order from the court of competent jurisdiction. This could mean getting a succession certificate from a court of competent jurisdiction which could be a time-consuming process,” Duggal told IANS.

Google, which owns Gmail, YouTube and Picasa web albums, has an “Inactive Account Manager” feature which allows a user to nominate who has access to his or her information. If people don’t log on after a while, their accounts can be deleted or shared with a designated person.

According to Twitter, “In the event of the death of a Twitter user, we can work with a person authorised to act on behalf of the estate or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased to have an account deactivated.”

Twitter, however, says that “we are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased”.

Also Read- Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 now in India

Like Facebook, Instagram memorialises accounts but they can’t be changed and no one can log into the profile.

Instagram asks that friends and relatives get in touch via email to notify them that a user has died and asks for a proof of death.

Apple iCloud and iTunes accounts are “non transferable” which means any rights to information end when a user is no more. (IANS)

Next Story

Quit Facebook Now to Secure Good Grades in Exams

However, even when students used Facebook primarily for educational purposes, it was still a problem for lower performing students

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

Parents, take note. If you want your children to score good grades in exams, tell them to quit social media as researchers have found that students whose grades were below average could boost their results if they devoted less time on social networking sites, especially Facebook.

The study, published in the journal Computers & Education, looked at the amount of time first-year university students spent on Facebook, and the impact it had on their grades.

More than 500 students enrolled in the first year subject ‘Introductory Accounting’ at an Australian university took part in the study, with an average age of 19.

The research from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) showed that while high Facachieving students were not affected by the amount of time on Facebook, below average students had significantly lower grades with greater Facebook use.

“Our research shows time spent on social networking platforms puts lower academic achievers at higher risk of failing their course,” said study researcher James Wakefield from the UTS.

Students taking part in the study spent on average nearly two hours a day on Facebook, however some were on the social networking site in excess of eight hours a day.

“Lower achieving students may already be grappling with self-regulation and focus, so it seems time spent on Facebook provides a further distraction from studies,” Wakefield said.

Researchers found that if the students used Facebook for three hours a day – not substantially higher than the average of just under two hours – the difference was around six marks in a 60 mark exam or 10 per cent.

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

While the research applies to university students studying STEM and business degrees, it is likely to also be relevant to high school students who use social media.

For the findings, researchers assessed the students’ general academic achievement using their weighted average mark (WAM) across all of their studies, and surveyed them about their Facebook use.

They also controlled for other factors that might influence their achievement, such as whether they were planning to major in accounting, as well as their age and gender.

“It appears that for students with lower academic achievement, the use of social networking sites replaces study time, whereas high achieving students are able to juggle both,” he said.

Also Read: Tech Giant Google Secretly Gathering Health Information of Millions of US Citizens

According to the researchers, students with below average grades would benefit from switching off notifications on their phones, and either quitting or reducing time spent on Facebook.

The research also looked at why students were using Facebook – whether to keep in touch with family and friends, for entertainment or for study purposes.

However, even when students used Facebook primarily for educational purposes, it was still a problem for lower performing students. (IANS)