It has been long a question, what happens to all our profile data including the messages and pictures after we are no more in this world? Who gets the authority over them, who gets the complete access? Is it our parents, is it Facebook or is it just lost forever? Let’s find out what exactly happens to our Facebook Messages and Account info when we die.
In 2012 when a German teenager was struck and killed by a subway train, it left her parents grief-stricken. They wondered if the 15-year-old was suffering from depression and committed suicide. Her mother turned to the last ray of hope that might solve the mystery: her Facebook messages.
But unfortunately, she was denied access to her daughters account by Facebook. This has now turned into years-long court battle to solve the enigma. Recently, Berlin superior court began hearing the case. To consider if the parents who’s identities have been concealed should be granted permission to read her private messages. Though the parents had their child’s Facebook password, her profile was put into “in memoriam” mode after her death. Denying access from to her messages, the network reports
The case was previously brought up in 2015. When a district court ruled the decision in favor of the parents stating- physical letters and correspondence can be read by heirs after a person’s death. Even if they include other people’s messages — and that digital communications should not be treated differently, Bloomberg BNA reported.
But Facebook appealed the ruling promising to find a solution to the problem without violating the privacy of other Facebook users involved. The superior court judges gave Facebook and the family of the deceased to reach an agreement outside the court, according to Deutsche Welle.
Who gets to read Facebook messages?
The case gave rise to some important questions regarding what happens to a person’s digital profiles after their demise. It was first of its kind case in Germany. But the USA has also grappled the situation to no fruition in the past.
Facebook does have some options for setting up trustees for an account. But the option is only available for people over 18. And doesn’t allow access to messages and editing posts. Some states, including Delaware, have legislation dictating who should be allowed to access a person’s messages or digital data after their death. No federal statute exists.