Saturday, February 14, 2015

Facebook now allows a "dead hand" legacy contact; more on the "authentic names" requirement

Facebook is now providing a digital “dead hand” (to borrow from George Elliot novels), allowing you to control your account from beyond the grave, according to a NPR story by Roberto Baldwin, link here.  Facebook calls it a “legacy contact”. Google had announced an “Inactive Account Manager” for those who have become “worm food”, as Wired put it, here. Actually, one could wonder if someday a civilization will figure out how to retrieve a “time stamp” of you and let you continue living, in a sense, like in Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”.
What surprises me is that service providers don’t require specification of an alternate if you’re indisposed a long time (illness, overseas travel to difficult areas).  
Russia actually has a “social network for the dead”, which may sound like a surprising idea for Putin, here. 

On another Facebook matter, Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that Facebook has migrated from a "real names" policy to "authentic names".  This had caught up some drag queens, especially, who had previously enjoyed more liberal policies on MySpace, but the "authentic" name is supposed to help.  But the notification process is abrupt and awkward.  EFF now reports that Native Americans are affected, because of the way they construct names from ordinary outdoor elements. The story by Nadia Kayyila is here

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