SMITHFIELD A Smithfield man is battling Facebook to get access to page memorializing his late son.
17-year-old Vincent Alberghine died in December when the canoe he and two friends were in overturned on the Pagan River. The two others made it to shore.
His family says the Smithfield High School student's page was automatically memorialized by Facebook without permission and no family member controls it.
Many family members weren't on Vincent's friends list, so they can't access the page to see what others have posted or write their own feelings.
To his father, Craig, access to the website s more important that some might know.
'Most people that haven't gone through this. They don't understand that each little piece of him is important to us,' Craig said.
He thinks Facebook should change its policy and not memorialize pages. He also wants the site to let a family member take over its care.
Krista Kobeski, a member of the Facebook Communications Team, replied to our inquiry with a statement about the current policy on memorialization of accounts for deceased users.
'We believe we have put in effective policies that address the accounts that are left behind by the deceased. When we receive a report that a person on Facebook is deceased, we put the account in a special memorialized state. We only memorialize accounts which are escalated to us using the contact forms provided in our help center. This process is designed to protect the privacy of the deceased user, first and foremost. To that end, we prevent anyone from logging into the account. However; we do not remove any content from the memorialized profile unless it is in violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The profile and Wall, as well as photos, notes and videos are left up so that friends and loved ones can make posts in remembrance. If we're contacted by a close family member with a request to remove the profile entirely, we will honor that request. People can submit reports through dedicated forms in our Help Center, and are responded to within 24 hours. These forms are linked to from the following FAQ. We will provide the estate of the decease with a download of the account's data if prior consent is obtained from or decreed by the decease, or mandated by law,' Kobeski wrote.
Alberghine has set up an online petition. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had more than 380 signatures against the policy.