Before MySpace, Facebook, or Skype, there was ooVoo, a video chat and messaging app that allowed users to talk with up to 8 people simultaneously. Long before Zoom, ooVoo was used by companies, corporations, and individuals to connect with coworkers, friends, and loved ones for business meetings and friendly hangouts.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Can You Delete an ooVoo Account?
- How to Prepare for an ooVoo-Style Social Media Shutdown
- What Will You Need to Back Up and Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Social Media Data?
Unfortunately, on November 25, 2017, ooVoo the company announced on Twitter that it would be shutting down for good. Citing a lack of revenue and profit, they decided to close down the app.
Fast forward to 2021, and people are beginning to realize that their digital information shouldn’t be left floating in the ether sphere. If you had an old account, or your loved one used to be an ooVoo fan, and you want to scrub personal data from their servers, read on for everything you need to know.
Can You Delete an ooVoo Account?
When ooVoo shut down in November 2017, they decided to permanently disable the system and pulled the plug on all the servers. What does this mean for you? It means that you can no longer access old ooVoo accounts.
If that comes as a shock, it did for fellow ooVoo users, as well. Many ooVoo users were stunned to find that logging in didn’t work and all of their chats, saved videos, and media sent back and forth were irretrievable.
One look at the Google Play Store, where ooVoo is still offered (for some reason), and you’ll find hundreds of 1-star reviews. Why? Because ooVoo users of old want to get back on to reclaim memories, messages, and pictures, but they can’t do it. Others want a dose of nostalgia and want to return to ooVoo. After all, if it’s on the Google Play Store, shouldn’t you be able to download it? Yes and no.
Users have discovered that you can download the app. However, once you try to set up an account and sign on, you’ll receive an error message. Then it goes no further. Old users try to sign on to their old accounts and they receive the same message. The error message is due to ooVoo’s servers being offline and inaccessible.
What does this mean for you, your old pictures, and your old data? For good or for bad, it means it’s all lost to the annals of time. Forever. Unless ooVoo makes a grand reappearance, your old accounts are forever lost.
How to Prepare for an ooVoo-Style Social Media Shutdown
The ooVoo shutdown and subsequent loss of user data should serve as an object lesson and a warning to us all. Not all social media companies are as lucrative as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Some of the ones we use regularly might get to the point someday where they need to close their doors, and servers, for financial reasons. If that’s the case, you don’t want to get caught in the same situation as ooVoo users with years of lost data and memories.
Here are several steps to take right now regardless of which social media and messaging apps you use.
Step 1: Back up your messages and photos
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from sudden data loss is to back up your in-app messages, documents, and photographs. Most apps give you the option to back up images as soon as you receive them, but data such as chat threads will often require a full backup that you must initiate yourself.
Search the app settings to check if the app you’re using has automatic backup options for pictures. Look for wording like “Data,” “Digital Files,” or “Backup Data” and click it. From there, you’ll see if you can set up an automatic backup of media. This is also where you will typically find the option to back up all of your data including chat threads.
There are three places to back up your data from an app on your phone.
Backup to your SD card: Phones come with SD cards of varying storage sizes. Depending on how much data you need to back up, you can choose to download your media and messages to your SD card. There are several downsides to backing up this way. You could lose the SD card, you could rapidly run out of space on it, and if you lose your phone, you’ll lose your backup as well.
Backup to your computer: As long as you have a USB cord that can connect the phone to your home computer or laptop, you can copy all of your app files, including pictures and text data, onto your computer. The only downside to this is that if anything ever happens to your computer, your backup and your memories will be gone, as well.
Backup to the cloud: Backing your data up to a location in the cloud is the best and safest way to keep pictures and data. There are plenty of places to back up your information such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and iCloud. These are all reputable cloud storage options that are performing at the top of their industry. Just as important as it is to back up your information to a cloud-based system, it’s vital to choose a reputable company that is performing well.
Step 2: Check the app and company’s performance
Rather than waiting for a company to go down in flames before you back up your data and move over to a better platform, stay on top of the news about the app you’re using. Check for warning flags so you can switch apps when you’re ready, rather than being forced to do so due to a shut-down. What signs should you look for?
- Financial losses year after year
- A decreasing lack of tech support
- An increasing number of negative reviews
- A lack of app updates
- A declining number of users
While these signs aren’t absolute proof that the app is about to shut down, they are serious red flags that should raise questions as to the longevity of the app you’re using.
What Will You Need to Back Up and Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Social Media Data?
If your loved one passed away and you find yourself needing to back up their pictures and data before you delete their digital account, you’ll need several pieces of information. Every digital platform has its regulations and requirements for accessing your loved one’s accounts. In general, you will need the following:
A death certificate
A copy of your loved one’s death certificate will provide proof that your loved one has passed away. Many companies require this to ensure a hacker isn’t trying to shut the account down.
Getting a death certificate is simple and can be done by visiting your state’s Vital Records Office online. There, you can order several copies at once. Digital platforms rarely request a physical copy, so one copy that you can scan and attach to a support email should be enough.
Proof of your executorship
Companies generally won’t allow you to close someone’s account unless you can show proof that you have the right to do so. For this, you’ll typically be asked to attach proof of executorship to an email.
Documents that demonstrate proof usually include:
- Letters of testamentary
- Copy of the will
- Court documents appointing you executor
Proof of your ID
To make certain that you’re the executor, a scanned copy of your ID might be requested. Valid ID options usually include:
- Valid driver’s license
- Current passport
- Valid military ID
Digital account information
The account information for your loved one is critical if you want to back up their pictures and data before requesting the deletion of the account. If you can sign in and back up their files, you can then request deletion without worrying about their data disappearing.
When it’s time to delete their account, most companies will need several pieces of information, including:
- Account number
- Credit card on file
- Billing address
- Email address associated with the account
If you’re unsure of these items, check through your loved one’s billing records, password manager, and emails. Search these places for communications and billing statements from the company in question.
It might take some time to locate these pieces of information, but you’ll have access to all of their records so you can fulfill executor duties such as shutting accounts down.
Taking Care of Digital Information
Backing up your digital media is critical to protect your memories. Companies get hacked, apps go bankrupt, and phones get lost. Rather than simply hoping for the best, back up your and your loved one’s data regularly. Then, if a company goes down or it’s time to take care of things when someone dies, you’ll be ready.
- “After 10 Years, ooVoo is Shutting Down.” Digital Entertainment, The Source, 28 November 2017. thesource.com
- “ooVoo Shutting Down.” ooVoo, Twitter, 25 November 2017. twitter.com
- “ooVoo Video Calls, Messaging, and Stories.” Apps, Google Play Store, 2021. play.google.com