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NH Bill Would Allow Family To Take Over Social Media Accounts After Death

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield Michael Rosenfield
Michael Rosenfield is the New Hampshire Bureau Chief for CBS Boston’s...
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MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – From Facebook and Twitter to blogs and email, so-called digital assets pile up and linger online after the owner passes away.

New Hampshire State Representative Peter Sullivan, (D)-Manchester, has introduced a bill that could make things easier for families who want to take over their loved one’s accounts after a death.

“They would be able to access the account and if they wish to, they could shut the account down,” said Sullivan.

It can be a very difficult legal tightrope for families because social media sites have strict privacy issues and will not relinquish passwords.

But not everyone might want their family to have access.

“Sometimes you run into the issue where people are doing and saying things online that are very private and they don’t want their loved ones to know,” said Erin Hathaway, a social media expert and professor at Granite State College.

There have been cases of people bullied online after death and the bill could help spare families from the pain.

“The family could go in and take over that account and they could put a stop to the nonsense,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan says the laws need to be clearer and need to catch up with technology.

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