That is an interesting question and one that one girl’s parents are trying to have resolved. Unfortunately for them, they have had to take their fight to the courts.
In 2015, Facebook introduced the concept of memorialized pages, which replace normal pages once a user dies. Facebook said that once notified of a user’s death, it would “memorialize” the page and allow only a trustee access to the account.
Facebook tightened restrictions on the legacy contract system allowing only users over the age of 18 years to name a legacy to handle their account post mortem. Users may also choose to have their accounts deleted instead of naming a digital heir.
But the parents of a 15-year old German girl are having a terrible time gaining access to their deceased daughter’s Facebook account. The girl died five years ago when she was run over by a train; her parents are trying to find some clue to answer the question: was it an accident, or was it suicide?
In the first trial, the Berlin court ordered Facebook to give the parents access to their daughter’s Facebook account. The courts maintain that since the daughter was a minor at the time of her death, her personal rights would not be violated.
The social network giant, who does not automatically delete users’ accounts upon their deaths, argued that the decision by the courts was not right. Facebook maintains that releasing the account information would affect other users who had the expectations of privacy when posting on the girl’s page.
The major difference between a memorialized account and an active account is that no one can log into the memorialized account.
And that is the problem the parents of the young teenager face. Her account was memorialized before they had the chance to access it using her password. They now await the decision from a second court.
What do you think? Should our Facebook accounts be accessible to a loved one after we die, and is that something you should put into your will?
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