Berlin judge denies insight into 15-year-old’s social media activity.
The parents of a dead 15-year-old who asked Facebook to allow them access to her account to see if she was being bullied before she died, and whether that may have played some role or not in her tragic death, have lost their claim in court.
Berlin’s court of appeal ruled last week that the parents of the teenager, had no claim to access her details or chat history. The 15-year-old was killed by a train in 2012 and her parents have been trying to establish if she had committed suicide.
Facebook contended that opening up the account would compromise the privacy of the teenager’s contacts. A first court in Berlin had originally ruled in favor of the parents, stating that the contents of the girl’s Facebook account were in effect, the same as letters and diaries, and as such were legally allowed to be inherited by her family, “regardless of their content”.
But Facebook appealed against the decision. And the appeals court has no subsequently ruled in favor of Facebook, saying that the contract that existed between the girl and the social media company ended with her death.
The family, unsurprisingly, are desperate to find out whether the girl’s death in Berlin was suicide, and crucially, whether it was the result of online bullying. In a statement to the media, Facebook said it was thankful for the ruling, adding: “At the same time we are sympathetic towards the family and respect their wish. We are making every effort to find a solution which helps the family at the same time as protecting the privacy of third parties who are also affected by this.”