Parents of dead girl lose case to access her Facebook account and see if she was cyber bullying victim

The 15-year-old died after being hit by a subway train in Berlin in 2012

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 31 May 2017 17:02 BST
They want to find out if their daughter took her own life
They want to find out if their daughter took her own life (REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov )

The parents of a girl who died after being hit by a subway train have lost their appeal for access to her Facebook account.

The 15-year-old died in Berlin in 2012, and her parents say they want to use her Facebook messages to work out if she was a victim of online bullying, and if she took her own life.

Berlin’s court of appeals has rejected their claim and ruled in favour of the social media site, which has repeatedly rejected their requests.

The girl’s Facebook account was memorialised soon after her death, locking everyone out of it, the Guardian reports.

Depending on its privacy settings, friends can share memories on the timeline of a memorialised account, but nobody can actually log in to a memorialised account.

It isn’t clear who asked Facebook to memorialise the girl’s account – the site only does so after being informed of a user’s death by a friend or family member – but this means her mother, who the girl reportedly shared her Facebook login details with when she was 14, can’t access it.

Facebook argues that granting the parents access to the girl’s private messages would expose the private messages of other users too.

The court’s decision was made in accordance with Germany’s private telecommunications rules.

It overturned an earlier decision that had ruled in favour of the parents.

In 2015, Berlin’s regional court concluded that the girl’s contract with Facebook should pass on to her parents because of Germany’s inheritance laws.

Facebook appealed that ruling, and the city’s appeals court has decided that the right to private telecommunications outweighs the right to inheritance.

The girl’s parents can take the case to Germany’s federal court of justice, but they haven’t yet revealed if they will.

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