Platforms can take action

As the keepers of data and information about users, online services can build features into their platforms that allow users to set digital directives for their accounts. We offer a free design toolkit to help your team plan and design features that can make this easier for users and their loved ones.

Most online platforms lack a standard process to close an account at a user’s death, or if they have one, it is rudimentary. All platforms with user accounts should have a feature to receive a notification of user death, and most should also have options for managing the data belonging to the deceased user.

Settling an estate after a loved one’s death generally takes about a year. Sorting out physical assets is difficult enough – we believe that closing online accounts and distributing digital assets should be simple. Platforms can comply with this principle by giving survivors clear instructions for closing an account and/or transferring assets.

© 2020 The Digital Afterlife Project

This project was created and incubated at the Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub