Facebook After Death? Legislation to Control Who Owns Your Social Media Account After Death

Legislation has been proposed to make clear what happens to someone's Facebook after their death. The legislation has been proposed by a New Hampshire lawmaker, and seeks to give the executor of an estate control over the deceased's social media networks and emails.

The legislation would include people's Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, as well as other Internet profiles.

State Rep. Peter Sullivan has said that he wants the legislation to be approved so that it could prevent any potential for bullying. Sullivan has been inspired to create the proposals after learning about a Canadian girl who committed suicide after being bullied on her Facebook page. Even after the girl's death, bullies continued to post up bullying messages towards her on the Facebook page, adding further distress to the already devastated family of the girl. The family were unable to access the Facebook account to delete the abusive posts.

Sullivan has 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."

Rhode Island, Idaho, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Connecticut have all already passed legislation to deal with the matter, according to ABC News.

Meanwhile an Oklahoma lawmaker called Ryan Kiesel, proposed a similar law change in 2010, but has insisted the situation should be tackled at a federal level so that clear rules can be established across the nation.

He has 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."

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