Mother has Facebook Memorial Page Removed
Judges in Brazil have ordered Facebook to remove the memorial page of 24-year old journalist Juliana Ribeiro Campos, who died last year. The punishment should Facebook deny the order: imprisonment.
While a Corporation has legal status similar to that of a person, it’s an oddity for a company to receive charges of imprisonment. I’m very interested in how that sentence would have been executed. That aside, this case has stirred up a little bit of controversy. Let’s look at what happened.
Juliana Campos died last year in May, due to complications following surgery. Juliana’s Facebook profile was then turned into a memorial, through which the public could express their condolences and support. Upon complaints from Juliana’s mother, Facebook made the memorial page private, and only viewable by Juliana’s friends.
Her friends regularly posted images of the times they shared together, and often recalled their memories of Juliana. While seemingly innocent, this caused a great deal of grief to Juliana’s mother, who found herself crying when faced with this onslaught of images and memories. She fought for many months to have the memorial page removed and eventually, by court order, Facebook took down the memorial page.
While the story is simple, the underlying ethics behind it is a little more complicated. The question is: Did Juliana’s mother really have the right to take down the memorial? Facebooks guidelines state that a deceased persons profile can be removed upon the request of an immediate family member. At face value, this makes sense. But something more should be considered: what of Juliana’s friends?
- Juliana Ribeiro Campos
Over the course of her 24 years in this world, Juliana built many relationships and bonds. She loved, and was loved; not just by her family, but also by her friends and co-workers. She lived a free life – a life that was hers. The Facebook memorial page allowed her friends, who were probably distraught over her death, to come to terms with her death, as well as embrace her memory. Nobody owned that memorial – it was an area where close friends could share and cherish their memories, as well as support one another. The decision of Juliana’s mother seems almost selfish. I’m not questioning the depth of the grief of a mother – that is something I may never comprehend. What gets to me is the fact that she, as well as the court, acted as if she owned her daughter’s memorial, as well as the memories contained within it. By fighting for it’s removal, she stole a crucial coping mechanism away from many people who, collectively, probably have a stronger claim to that memorial than any one person could.
If the memorial pained Juliana’s mother so greatly, she could have stopped visiting it. If the urge to visit it was too great, she could have blacklisted it altogether. This would allow others access to the memorial, while ensuring that she did not view it. In truth, the deletion of the memorial page was unnecessary, and seems like an act of over assertion. Is it possible that this mother wanted to own her daughter’s memories? That by seeing the grief of others, she felt that her own level of grief was threatened? She may have thought that no one could share as close a bond to her daughter as her, and the memorial page may have threatened this belief. It’s also possible that the onslaught of memories being shared showed her a side of her daughter that she did not approve of. While there is nothing suggesting any of this, speculation is always fun.
Needless musings perhaps – but that’s what I’m here for! What do you think of this case? Did this mother have the right to have her child’s memorial page removed? Did she overreact? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below.