A New Hampshire lawmaker has proposed legislation that would give the executor of an estate control over Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and any other internet profiles.
State Rep. Peter Sullivan, who proposed the legislation, said that he wanted to prevent bullying with the new legislation. Sullivan said that he was inspired to create the new legislation after he read about a Canadian girl who committed suicide after being bullied on her Facebook page. After the girl passed away, people continued to post mean messages on her Facebook profile, and the family wasn’t able to access the page to delete the messages.
“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,” Sullivan said.
According to ABC, this isn’t the first time that legislation has been proposed to deal with Facebook after death. Rhode Island, Idaho, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Connecticut have all passed legislation to deal with a person’s digital life after death.
Today marks the ninth Anniversary of the launch of Facebook, which currently has over 1 billion active users. That number, which has grown from just a million users in 2004, suggests there must be an enormous number of Facebook pages that must currently be occupied by deceased people.
Facebook has not completely ignored the growing number of deceased users. The site has created a function allowing Facebook pages to become memorials after they have died.
“Please use this form to request the memorialization of a deceased person’s account,” the site reads. “We extend our condolences and appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process.”
Memorialization of a Facebook page, however, can only be done via online request. And the terms of service for Facebook’s say that it will not issue login and password information to family members of the deceased. The requestor must contact Facebook and request that the profile is taken down or memorialized.