Tech platforms failing consumers on legacy settings

Research into the legacy provisions of leading tech organisations has revealed that more work must be done to support users, and loved ones of those who die or become incapacitated.

Ten major providers have been assessed and scored on a newly released Digital Legacy Scorecard which rates the platform on the extent to which the platforms have catered for what happens to accounts in the event of user’s death or incapacity.

The Digital Legacy Scorecard has been designed by STEP and outlines key criteria tech companies should provide including

  • Clear triggers and criteria for making an account inactive
  • The ability to pre-determine access in the event of death or incapacitation
  • The awareness the platform provides of such options and settings.

A Bronze, Silver or Gold score is then assigned depending on the level of compliance.

Facebook and Google scored highest of the ten scored, with LinkedIn, Twitter/X and Amazon scoring the lowest.

The 10 platforms scored were: Amazon; Apple; Coinbase; Dropbox; Facebook; Google; Instagram; LinkedIn; X (Twitter); and Yahoo.

According to STEP the results “demonstrate more needs to be done to improve legacy functionality across the board” with none of the providers meeting all of STEP’s basic requirements. Concerningly, incapacity is particularly poorly dealt with only Facebook and Google addressing the question “Does it have options for an accountholder to address incapacity and specific administration options that allow a fiduciary to address the incapacity of an accountholder?”

Mark Walley, Chief Executive of STEP, said:

“Improving legacy settings will enable millions of customers to plan for what happens to their accounts at death or if they lose capacity.”

“This can save loved ones from the distress and frustration of not being able to access these digital assets, which may have sentimental and/or financial value, and can also help to mitigate against the possibility of cybercrime or identity theft.

“We are already discussing our work on legacy settings with LinkedIn and Twitter. We are calling on all of these service providers to work with us to better support their customers to plan their digital estates.”

The full ratings and further details about how the Scorecard was developed can be found at:

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