Parents rejected access to dead teenage daughter’s Facebook account, German court rules

The Court of Appeals in Berlin, Germany, has ruled that parents of a 15-year-old girl who was killed by a train in 2012, have no right to access her Facebook account. According to media reports, the parents have been trying to find out if the girl was bullied over Facebook messages and as a consequence committed suicide. In 2015 Berlin’s regional court ruled in favour of the parents, arguing that the contents of the girl’s account can be seen as letters and diaries which ‘can be inherited regardless of their content’. Now, the Appeals court overturned that decision in favour of Facebook stating that ‘a contract existed between the girl and the social media company and that it ended with her death’. Before the ruling, both parties Facebook and the parents of the girl, reserved the right in the event of a defeat to take an appeal to Germany’s federal court of justice. In a statement for German media, Facebook welcomed the ruling stating their sympathies towards the family, underlying their efforts to find a solution which would both help the family and protect the privacy of third parties at the same time.