German court rejects mother's request to access deceased daughter's Facebook

German court rejects mother's request to access deceased daughter's Facebook

A court in Germany denied a mother’s request Wednesday for Facebook to give her access to her deceased daughter’s account.

A Berlin appeals court ruled that private electronic communications were meant to be seen only by certain people, according to Reuters.

The mother had tried to get control of her 15-year-old daughter’s Facebook page in 2012 after she was hit and killed by a subway train in Berlin. The mother was looking to see if she could find anything that would help her determine if her daughter had committed suicide.

Facebook opted to not grant the mother access to her daughter’s account, which had been “memorialized.” When a user dies their profile is locked, a small “Remembering” is placed over their name to signify their passing and their friends and family can post memories on their page.


"Please keep in mind that we can't provide login information for someone else's account even under these circumstances," Facebook's policies on deceased family member's profiles reads. "It's always against Facebook's policies to log into another person's account."

The company says however that it will remove deceased users' accounts at the request of verified immediate family members. 

A regional court in Berlin had previously ruled in favor of the mother in 2015 on the grounds that her daughter’s Facebook could be passed to her under German inheritance laws. The court also noted that as a minor, the daughter’s right to privacy was not protected from her parents.

The Berlin appeals court overturned this on Wednesday, arguing that privacy rights trumped inheritance rights.