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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
DPA/PA Images Court spokeswoman Annette Gabriel talks about the verdict in the juridical dispute over the virtual legacy at Facebook of a deceased underage girl.
legacy issues

German court denies parents access to dead teen's Facebook account

The parents want to know if their child died by suicide.

A GERMAN COURT backed online giant Facebook in its battle to reject a demand by the parents of a dead teenage girl for access to her  account.

The 15-year-old was killed by a Berlin underground train in 2012 and her parents have been trying since to establish if she died by suicide by jumping onto the tracks.

They want access to her Facebook account to examine if she had ever mentioned a death wish in chats with friends or in any posts.

A first Berlin court had ruled in favour of the parents’ request, finding that the contents of the girl’s Facebook account are part of her legacy.

The panel found that emails and Facebook entries were similar to letters and diaries, which “can be inherited regardless of their content”.


An appeals court ruled in favour of the US online group, which argued that opening up the account would compromise the privacy of the teenager’s contacts.

Facebook has faced increased scrutiny in Germany, where authorities have proposed heavy fines if online social networks fail to wipe illegal hate speech from their sites.

In a recent high-profile court case, the website clinched victory against a Syrian refugee whose selfie with Chancellor Angela Merkel made him the target of racist trolls.

The refugee had sought to get the online group to search out and delete defamatory posts, but the court ruled that it was unclear whether Facebook was able to conduct such searches without surmounting major technical hurdles.

© – AFP 2017

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