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Britons split on social media content being deleted when they die

Photo by Yui Mok/PA Wire.

By Martyn Landi
Just over a quarter of British social media users want the content from their online profiles to be passed to their family and friends when they die, according to a new poll.

Research from YouGov suggests 26% of people would like their social media profiles deleted when they pass away but the contents to be preserved and passed to loved ones.

In contrast, another quarter said would like their profiles to be deleted completely when they die.

Some 7% of respondents said they would like their social media profiles to stay online forever - a service available through Facebook, which offers a feature that can turn a profile into a permanent memorial page controlled by a designated contact.

Attitudes towards the sharing of data and social media profiles were divided across age groups, the research suggested.

According to the poll of more than 1,600 people, those aged over 65 were the most likely to want their profiles deleted completely, while 18-24-year-olds were the least likely to want this.

Overall, more than half of those asked (53%) said they would be happy to give their smartphone passwords to family members before they died as part of the data sharing process but only a third of 18-to-24-year-olds said they would do so.

Connor Ibbetston, research manager at YouGov, said the research highlighted the complicated relationship users have with their online data.

"Most people make arrangements for what will happen to their home and savings after they die, however, the issue becomes more complicated when it comes to social media and other digital data," he said.

"Public opinion is pretty evenly split between deleting your profiles entirely or deleting your profile but passing the data to your family."

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