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

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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