Parents ask: Who owns son's Facebook?

  • Article by: JEREMY OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2012 - 6:37 AM

The law is murky when grieving relatives seek access to social media.

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irenesgirlJun. 1, 1211:23 PM

My most sincere condolences to this grieving family. Regrettably, our kids don't always want to "friend" us in the social networking world; however, under the circumstances, don't any of their son's friends want to help by letting them see his page or providing it to Police? Maybe there's something there they shouldn't see, that would cause pain, anguish & heartache? I don't know. Just a thought. Sometimes, sadly, there is not an answer or reason for why someone commits suicide. Ever. Best wishes to them in their quest for an answer.

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william2mnJun. 2, 12 1:40 AM

Perhaps these sites could have fields where a user could enter the names of the people who would be granted access to the account upon their death and once a death certificate along with appropriate identification had been turned over the company. Likewise perhaps a simple check box that says that under no circumstances is any information to be turned over to anyone after their death could be used to deal with the wishes of the person who had the account.

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ntaggartJun. 2, 12 6:48 AM

Google and Facebook are breaking the laws in many countries around the world and flaunting their getting away with it. Eventually this will end. A PERSON HAS “THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN” on the internet! One has the right to not have their name show up in Google or other search engine queries. A person also has the right to control what and how any information shows up about them in any search engine query. Along with the growth of the internet there has been an erosion of people’s personal boundaries. This is not healthy. Good boundaries make for good neighbors as the saying goes, and good neighbors make for a strong and stable democracy and economy. I would suggest considering the consequences of a kind of 'Scarlet Letter Effect'. Ref Nathanial Hawthorne's classic "The Scarlet Letter". One of its key themes very presciently deals with the modern day re: things pertaining to the internet and privacy. This issue is working it’s way through the courts in Spain and the EU right now, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes an issue in the US too.

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orono77Jun. 2, 12 8:05 AM

@ ntaggart – When it comes to social media websites and their terms of use this may not be accurate. What this family is facing is sad and unfortunate but at the end of the day the EULA associated with Facebook speaks for itself. I do not agree with the way the law works, in fact, I think it's quite pathetic, especially I'm this era with social media. But let's face it, we're our own enemies when it comes to utilizing sites like Facebook, often accepting the EULA without reading or scrutinizing the implications. This is one reason I'm not a big Facebook, or other social media, user. Having read one of their EULAs I became uncomfortable with the agreement and feel only a fool would agree to what they state.

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orono77Jun. 2, 12 8:08 AM

Ask yourself, 'have I read the EULA for every site I've signed up for?' If your answer is 'no' then you have nothing to complain about when things like this occur, at least with the site / service in question. You had the right and opportunity to opt out or not join the site. You declined. Live with it.

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mom2fourJun. 2, 12 8:14 AM

One thing is abundantly clear: Lawyers love this kind of stuff. Think: billable hours.

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chastaylorJun. 2, 12 8:52 AM

Sounds like there should be benficiary information for who owns the account in the event of death.

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merlin5150Jun. 2, 12 9:06 AM

I'm saddened by this mans death. Notice the word MAN. He was 21, and of legal age to post whatever he wished on any social networking site. A social network would open itself up to a variety of lawsuits, if it were to give out information protected by a password. If users realize that all of the content they post can be so easily compromised, they will quit using the social site. Revenue will drop, families who connect in this fashion will no longer do so, and for some of them, this may be the only way to keep in touch with distant relatives. As the saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it"

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rlwr51Jun. 2, 1210:16 AM

If Facebook owns what I put on it, I don't want to be on it....Regular inheritance laws should apply, I would think.....The phone company does not own, or has even had legal access to the what I have said on my phone (Can you imagine talking to you friend about getting a new car or how you have put on weight, only to have a bunch of eves droppers know about it and start sending you advertisements for cars and health clubs). I think I would prefer that the internet work like the old land line phone system - they provide the hardware and what I do with it is off limits.

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ntaggartJun. 3, 12 8:17 AM

Ayn Rand: "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." --

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