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Will social media accounts survive your will?

We spend so much energy on sites; posting photos, writing about experiences and writing blogs, that it makes sense to leave instructions on how you would like these digital assets to be handled in your will, write KEZIA TALBOT and REMAY DE KOCK at BDO Wealth Advisers. 

We are living in a time where technology is at the heart of our existence- social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram dictate and capture our lives on a daily basis.  We spend so much energy on these sites; posting photos, writing about experiences and writing blogs, that it makes sense to leave instructions on the manner in which you would like these digital assets to be handled after your death.

Everplans describes digital assets as follows: “Digital property (or digital assets) can be understood as any information about you or created by you that exists in digital form, either online or on an electronic storage device, including the information necessary to access the digital asset. All of your digital property comprises what is known as your digital estate.” (A Helpful Overview Of All Your Digital Property And Digital Assets.” Everplans. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.)

The questions are: how do you want your legacy to live on in the social media world and what would you like to happen to your digital assets?

Regardless of your answers to these questions, the solution to ensuring that your wishes are carried out, is a Social Media and Digital Assets Will. There are two parts to the Social Media and Digital Assets Will. The first deals with what you would like to happen to your social media legacy and content, and the second deals with your data stored on cloud servers and your own hardware.

In South African Law at present there is no inherent right to privacy after your death, as this particular right ceases upon your death. It may, however, be of some comfort that it is the strict policy of most social media sites and other online service providers, to not, barring compelling and unusual circumstances as well as a court order, grant another person access to your account or profile, or to provide them with the content contained in the account or profile, after your demise.

Whilst in the case of those persons who’s answers to the above questions may be that “my legacy is not to live on and my content is not to be shared with anyone”, it may tempting to not record these wishes in the form of a Social Media and Digital Assets Will, but it is nonetheless advisable to execute a Social Media and Digital Assets Will, so as to ensure that your wishes are not deviated from and that your personal data is not disclosed.

Depending on the type of social media platforms and online services which you use, there are different options at the disposal of your executor or family member in the event of your death, a few of which are listed below:

·         Facebook allows your account to be “memorialized”. This, in essence, allows your Facebook page to remain active for friends and family to post on and visit. The word “Remembering” will then appear before your name. The person who manages this page is your Legacy Contact. This is a person who you nominate, via a setting on Facebook. The Legacy Contact cannot change any posts, but can write a new post on your profile and change your profile picture etc.

·         The alternative option on Facebook, is for your account to be closed and deleted. This can be done by request by a family member, after certain proof has been provided to Facebook.

·         Instagram, being owned by Facebook, also allows either the memorialization or closure of your account.

·         Twitter does not allow the memorialization of your page, but will instead suspend the account after a period of 6 months of inactivity, or will close your account when requested to do so by a family member, after the provision of certain documents.

·         If you own a Yahoo! Mail account, then the only option is for a termination request to be sent to Yahoo!

·         If you own a Gmail (or other Google-based accounts), then there are two options available to you:

o   The Inactive Account Manager may be used, whereby after a set period of inactivity, your account is deleted, and the data can be downloaded by a pre-selected trusted contact; or

o   Your account is closed upon request by a family member.

·         LinkedIn will only allow for your account to be closed and your profile removed. Your death can be reported by your family, or alternatively, by a colleague who identifies your profile to LinkedIn.

As you will note from the above, the options available to you and your family as to your continuing legacy are limited, and the possibility of your family accessing your data is very unlikely, but you should, in any event, exercise your rights in this regard, and stipulate what is to happen to your accounts and data.

If, on the other hand, you do wish for your legacy to continue and for your designated digital executor to access and download your data, it would be necessary for you to nominate your digital executor as your legacy contact/trusted contact and to provide your digital executor with your login details for those sites or locations where your data is stored. This can be done in a Social Media and Digital Assets Will, so that your data may be downloaded and preserved for your loved ones to treasure for generations to come.

Some factors to take into account when drafting your Social Media Will:

1)     Identify a someone who you can trust to be your “Digital Executor”;

2)    Stipulate in your Will / Letter of Wishes that your Digital Executor be given a copy of your death certificate, as this will be required for most actions;

3)    Leave your Digital Executor with a summary of all the websites, and your usernames and passwords, where you wish for your Digital Executor to be able to access the content of the accounts. Bearing in mind that these details are highly confidential, this document should be stored in your safe or in a reputable digital vault with high security standards and requirements.

Remember, your online legacy and digital assets will continue to exist long after you die.  Set aside some time and give this issue the necessary thought it deserves.  You will end up saving the ones you leave behind a lot of time and effort by dealing with these issues now.

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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