‘Sickening’ social media apps — that make you live on after death rise in popularity

More and more of use are preparing to use, or have used, “goodbye tools” such as web apps DeadSocial and LivesOn to leave an online legacy for the world to enjoy after we die.

These sites allow users to schedule posts after their death so they can live on in cyberspace and let them choose a “digital executor” who will manage their online estate after they’ve gone.

We now spend more time online than sleeping, according to communications regulator Ofcom, so these tools’ popularities are soaring.

But fearful critics, charities and even those grieving have blasted these apps as “sickening, scary and traumatising”.

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LEGACY: Some say the tools help families grieve

Social media apps that tweet after you dieGETTY

GOODBYE: Some families claim the messages are comforting


Tragic Hayley Birch died of skin cancer aged just 25.

Her mum Penny Birch, 59 and from Solihull, West Mids., has kept her Facebook account live since the air hostess’ death in September 2009.

But she has used it to invite friends and family to post “heart-warming words and memories” to her and keep her legacy alive.

And she would be “really scared” to see statuses appear from Hayley herself.

The gift list advisor told Daily Star Online: “It is comforting to me to see Hayley’s Facebook and Twitter pages active with lovely and heart-warming words, memories and well-wishes to Hayley, especially on anniversaries and birthdays.

“Comments from friends and family members warm my heart.

“But her writing stuff when she is just not there is crazy.”

Penny, who has two other children, added: “It would be sickening and awful, traumatising to me actually to read statuses from her now.

“It would be traumatising and scary. It would be as if she was writing from beyond the grave. It would be scary for everybody. It would really, really scare me.”

Penny described Hayley, a stewardess with Virgin Atlantic, as “full of life, vivacious and the friendliest girl you’d ever meet”.

And charities called the apps “disconcerting” and “troubling”.

Alex James, founder of charity Bereavement.co.uk, said: “I am very into keeping healthy bonds and contact with the deceased. People have always kept memory boxes for example.

“But the thing that would trouble me is trolls. With the internet, anyone can access social media and websites and anyone can write whatever they like. This could be quite disconcerting actually and people live on Facebook and other social media.

“The popularity of these is not surprising. I am always cautious though by people and companies cashing in on death, as may be the case here.“

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POPULAR: Facebook alone has more than 1.65million users

But Dead Social alone has thousands of users. One of them, Joanna Shears, believes these sites can help people grieve.

The fit and healthy 34-year-old said: “This way you can bring a smile along with the tears.

“If someone dies it will always be sad. That’s an aspect you can never remove.

“But this can help.”

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BEREAVEMENT: Different people grieve in different ways

James Norris, founder of north west London-based DeadSocial, said: “DeadSocial is an end of life tool and resource hub for the general public. We support people wanting to use technology to prepare for their death online.

“With so much of our lives spent online it is becoming increasingly important for many people to be able to bring their digital lives to a managed ending.

“DeadSocial empowers the general public by highlighting what we can and cannot do on each platform. Our ‘goodbye tool’ is like a modern day ‘victorian memory box’. However instead of passing down photos and messages on physical pieces of paper they are passed down in a digital format.

“The social etiquette around death and dying has changed and we are the last generation to know a world without the internet. The information that we leave online will be looked at by our friends and families for years to come.”

[Source:- Star]