Since the death of Lara Ryan’s partner, Elise, the Australian mother of two has used Facebook as a way to stay connected to her memory.
As 9Honey reports, Lara and Elise had been together for 10 years before Elise was struck by a car while crossing the road and died in February 2016. Lara donated her partner’s organs, which saved the lives of nine people. Although a part of Elise’s would live on through the recipients, Lara wanted to keep her loved one’s spirit alive, as well.
In an interview with 9Honey, Lara said Elise’s Facebook account allowed her to share precious memories with friends and family:
“I have been accessing Elise’s page weekly since her death to approve tags that allow people to share memories of her and me to share pictures of her kids growing up with her friends and family, I also check messages etc.”
Lara had no trouble logging into Facebook, as she and Elise shared each other’s passwords and account information, until one day she was locked out. Lara no longer had access to Elise’s account because the page had been “memorialized.”
Lara was informed by Facebook that a request had been made to memorialize Elise’s page and that once the action had been taken it couldn’t be undone to give Lara access to the account again, 9Honey reported. In a Facebook post shared on her own page, Lara wrote in part she was “absolutely devastated”:
Someone has requested Facebook to memorialize Elise Ryan’s Facebook account.
Which I continue to access weekly to keep her family and friends updated with our kids lives and updates on court cases, tag her in memories and pictures of our lives etc.
I also spend night on the couch, alone, reading over our old messages to one another.
Lara pleaded for anyone with information about the irreversible request to come forward, as Facebook told her: “For privacy reasons, we can’t provide any additional details about this account or any requests we receive.”
Lara added she fears the request was made out of spite because she and Elise were in a same-sex relationship, although she told 9Honey she and Elise did not have any enemies.
Lara explained it was possible there were other culprits, too:
“I am a member of a few online widows support groups and have heard many stories of this being done to their late spouse’s page. Usually it is an estranged adult, a disgruntled mother in law or an ex-lover doing it vindictively.”
Still unable to control her partner’s account, Lara urged Facebook users to create a “legacy contact” in the event a Facebook page needs to be managed posthumously. Lara wrote:
Note to all; create a “Legacy Contact” on your FB account so that your nearest and dearest can have some control over your account should the unspeakable happen to them. You can’t become a “Legacy Contact” once they are gone.
According to Facebook, it’s against Facebook terms to log into someone else’s account. Facebook will only provide account information if they can verify the account user. If Facebook learns that a person has passed away, it is policy to memorialize the account; however, it is possible to notify Facebook if a page has been mistakenly memorialized.Facebook Newsroom
9Honey reports Lara is continuing to petition Facebook to have control over Elise’s account reinstated.