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Facebook After Death: Legislation Proposed To Deal With Social Media Profiles Of The Deceased

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Ever wonder what will happen to your Facebook profile after death? Who gets control of all of your photos? A New Hampshire lawmaker has proposed legislation that would give the executor of an estate control over Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and any other internet profiles.

State Rep. Peter Sullivan, who proposed the legislation, said that he wanted to prevent bullying with the new legislation. Sullivan said that he was inspired to create the new legislation after he read about a Canadian girl who committed suicide after being bullied on her Facebook page. After the girl passed away, people continued to post mean messages on her Facebook profile, and the family wasn’t able to access the page to delete the messages.

Sullivan said:

“This would give the families a sense of closure, a sense of peace. It would help prevent this form of bullying that continues even after someone dies and nobody is really harmed by it. The family wasn’t able to do anything; they didn’t have access to her account … They couldn’t go in and delete those comments, and they couldn’t take the page down completely.”

According to ABC, this isn’t the first time that legislation has been proposed to deal with Facebook after death. Rhode Island, Idaho, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Connecticut have all passed legislation to deal with a person’s digital life after death.

But some legislators say that Sullivan’s bill doesn’t do enough and may not be enforceable. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are constantly changing their privacy rules. Ryan Kiesel, an Oklahoma lawmaker who proposed a similar in 2010, said that the ideal situation would be to have the federal government establish ground rules.

Keisel said:

“Facebook and other online providers have changed their privacy policies to keep up with the times, but we still see a lot of flux within different sites like Facebook , Flickr, or Google, for example. The federal government should pass uniform laws to govern all digital assets because it is quite difficult for an estate to have to navigate endless numbers of digital policies postmortem.”

Are you worried about what happens to your Facebook after death? Do you think there needs to be state or federal rules to deal with digital profiles?

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Comments

24 Responses to “Facebook After Death: Legislation Proposed To Deal With Social Media Profiles Of The Deceased”

  1. Tina Trotter

    I hope the bullies who posted mean comments after her death burn in Hell.

  2. Bill Burns

    facebook should have the same rule as hotmail does, if there is no personal login for 30 days the account should be closed and deleted.

  3. Chris Stencel

    if the victim of a suicide is still having hateful comments left on their FB page, there should be legislation that would allow law enforcement to detain and question the persons leaving the comments in connection with the death and with the possibility of being held accountable.

  4. Carmen Vito Blundo

    that has absolutely horrible what happened even after death still hateful comments people make me sick I say after so long of inactivity Facebook should delete the account.

  5. Naomi Spears Duncan

    people have no accountability when it comes to being pos bullies online. That needs to stop

  6. John Paul McHone

    It may come to the point that a death certificate would be needed to prove, and then allow the next of kin or executor of a person's will/estate to be permitted to delete the account. I also like the idea of no activity for a certain period of time the account should be deleted. Or if an email was sent to a person's address on file for an account with no activity for said amount of time.

    Another person also mentioned bully posts after someone's suicide being investigated. That is an excellent idea.

    This is something that needs to be addressed on the Federal level because it involves people from all over the United States and the world. Making internet bullying a Federal crime is an action that needs to be taken immediately!

  7. Bobby James

    How about when someone dies… the account is just deleted by FB, and all pictures/videos are given to the next of kin.

  8. Sheila Peterson

    those children are demons…sick ibn the head! what a horrid thing to do.
    our facebooks should be removed when whomever is authorized and has read and signed a document of proof of death and identity before the facebook is erased completly.

  9. Sheila Peterson

    a little longer for facebook…sometimes i don't login for over 30 days.

  10. Susan Tozier Parsley

    for many of the friends and family, once a person dies, the page then becomes memorialized. which is very therapuedic for most., also past posts if there was foul play could be helpful to investigations.. Why cant we choose to leave our page to someone else to decide after we are gone. This could be done at set up. I know I notified Facebook when my friend died, and the page is memories now.. but without someone monitoring the page, it can be disrespected, spammed, etc. THIS is definitely an issue to think about.

  11. Jessica Lucinda Williams

    when did Hotmail get that rule? i have had Hotmail for at least 13 years and only login once or twice a year to delete thousands of old messages.

  12. Barbara Barden

    I agree with giving our page to someone when we pass away. It should be set up in advance, like anything else we leave in a will. I have a little file box with index cards that contain all our internet log in information.
    If anything happens to a member of our family, all the information is right there in the file box.

  13. Donna Butler

    Ok, this article hits home for me. My brother was killed in Afgan in 2010. We communicated on FB every chance we got. So, when we lost him, I couldn't handle logging into my account anymore. Now, 2 1/2 yrs later I'll go onto his page to read the post of all of his military friends that grew to know and love him. It does help to know that so many people miss and love him just as much as I do. I still post comments on my brother's page, I still post happy birthday messages to him. And once and a while some of his military friends will post pictures of him. Seeing pictures of him smiling with the guys he served with a few days before he passed, eased my mind a little of thinking that he was miserable while over there. I'm not sure if his wife has taken control of his FB page and I really don't care about that, I just hope it stays up as long as possible.

  14. Doreen Harding

    My brother passed away as well in 2009… I tried to access his fb page to notify anyone of his friends that I thought I would be able to retrieve… If fb does this for the deceased that would be wonderful I could then see what my brother did <3 I miss him so much <3 Love you David.

  15. Wanda Martinez-Asenjo

    My son past away, and someone created a profile with his pictures and name RIP I think it is ridiculous, they should let him rest in peace. And parents should be able to say yay or nay to any sites about their kids.