Parents Denied Access to Facebook Account of Dead Teen

In 2012, A 15-year-old high school student was killed after she was hit by a subway train in Berlin. Her parents suspect that she may have been a victim of bullying and committed suicide as  result. They wanted to access her Facebook account to determine if this was true by read their late daughter’s messages. However, they have been denied access, even though a German court ruled in their favor in 2015.

The court stated that since the girl had passed, her “contact” with facebook therefore transferred to her parents, in compliance with the country’s inheritance laws. Then on Wednesday, an appeals court overturned the initial ruling, according to Reuters.  The Berlin appeals court stated that the private right of telecommunications between the girl and whoever she was chatting with is more important than the “right to inheritance.

Fox News reports:

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It adds that the contract between Facebook and the girl was terminated upon her death, so it could not be passed on posthumously. The parents wanted to be able to read the girl’s chat messages and posts to investigate whether she’d been the target of bullying, reports the BBC.

Facebook declined their request, arguing for the privacy rights of the teen’s contacts. The Guardian reports the unnamed girl had reportedly provided her mother with her password when she was 14, but her account was upon her death converted to a “memorialized” one, which blocks all login attempts and allows loved ones to post their goodbyes.

Facebook wouldn’t reveal which of her Facebook friends requested the account be memorialized; that person would have had to submit proof of her death. The parents could appeal this week’s verdict.

I always just assumed that Facebook handed over the login information…..If you were her parents, would you fight for the right to have access to her account? Especially if you thought that she may have been bullied into killing herself?


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Keely Sharp

Keely Sharp

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