Twitter fails preplanning options

 In Estate Planning, Executor Help

Do you tweet? Do you like to think in 280 characters or less? You must be on Twitter! Twitter is a social networking and microblogging platform used and loved by many around the globe. There are roughly 330 million monthly active Twitter users, with an average of 500 million tweets posted each day! There is no denying the platform’s popularity, but have you ever considered what will happen to your account after you pass away?

While Twitter currently does not have any preplanning tools like Facebook and other platforms, there are still options for you.

Delete your account before death.

Someone else deletes the account.

Let it delete itself due to inactivity.

Let us investigate these options in more depth.

Delete your account before death.

If you want to keep your Twitter account fully private, this is your best option! Twitter can take up to 30 days to completely delete your information from the platform, and then it is usually a week to remove your profile after that.

Someone else deletes the account.

An Executor or family member can notify Twitter of your death and request that your account be terminated. Twitter has a process that requires the individual to use an online form to report the death and follow their instructions (which usually includes submitting a copy of their ID as well as a copy of the death certificate for proof).

Twitter Deletes Itself.
This is the easiest option of the three! Twitter will automatically delete an account that has been inactive for 6 months. If you expect that no one will try to gain access to the account, then after six months, the account will be deleted by the platform.

Now you may be wondering, isn’t it easier to share my password and log-in information? Well, we reached out to Sharon Hartung, Your Digital Undertaker®, to ask about how Twitter handles password sharing, and Sharon’s response was “Password sharing is not an effective estate planning approach for a variety of legal, technical, and practical reasons. While Twitter’s Terms of Service (ToS) are not as explicit as some others when it comes to password sharing. The terms only state that: “You may need to create an account to use some of our Services. You are responsible for safeguarding your account, so use a strong password and limit its use to this account.”, and “Twitter gives you a personal, worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to use the software provided to you as part of the Services.”

When Sharon Hartung, Your Digital Undertaker®, conferred with Dave Michels, a Researcher in Cloud Computing Law, Queen Mary University of London, Cloud Legal Project, and Microsoft Cloud Computing Research, he provided the following comments. “Taken together, I would interpret this as Twitter granting you a personal right of access and (at least implicitly) banning password sharing. That said, it’s not as explicit as other ToS, such as the terms of Amazon Drive, which state very explicitly: “You may not share your username and password with others or use anyone else’s username and password.”

The moral of the story is that Twitter simply does not have any preplanning options for the user’s death. If you do not pre-delete your account, Twitter will keep your profile running for six months and delete it due to inactivity. In the meantime, we will anxiously wait for Twitter to produce a full preplanning method much like other social networks!

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