Nick Gazzard, Founder of the Hollie Gazzard Trust, was a guest speaker for STEP for one of their 21 one-hour webinar sessions which STEP members could register for across SIG Spotlight Week 2020.
The webinar explored the many digital assets with great emotional significance to individuals and their families. With a focus on social media and email, this webinar looked at the issues raised in digital asset planning for death and incapacity, with the aid of real life and hypothetical examples.
Nick used his experiences of dealing with Facebook following Hollie’s murder in 2014. Hollie’s Facebook account contained 72 images of herself with her killer — who was sentenced to life in prison — making her Facebook profile a place that Nick described as “distressing” and “sickening”.
An online petition was started to remove the images, following Facebook’s refusal for them to be removed. The petition was signed by over 11,500 people and eventually the images were removed.
Speaking in 2014 Nick said: ”We are delighted to confirm that Facebook have removed the offending photos from Hollie’s memorialised Facebook account and now we can all browse her photos without getting upset. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the 11,500+ who kindly signed our petition and those who also contacted Facebook direct and asked for the photos to be taken down.”
The panel of speakers for STEP covered various topics including:
- problems with social media accounts and their impact on a bereaved family;
- options available for individuals who want to plan what happens to their social media and email accounts after their death or incapacity;
- options available for the legal representatives of a deceased or incapacitated person to access and control that person’s use of social media, email and the web;
- a look from a medical perspective at how capacity in such matters is assessed.
Along with Nick, the other speakers included; Jack Burroughs Associate at Ashtons Legal, Dr Elaine Kasket, Author ‘All the Ghosts in the Machine’ and Psychologist and Tim Farmer, Founder and CEO, TSF Consultants Ltd.
Nick said: ”It was a distressing time for me, our family and friends, not only dealing with the loss of Hollie but then having to go through her digital assets. We are grateful to Web Sheriff for all their help and to Facebook for finally showing compassion and listening to the family’s wishes.”
”With social media playing such a prominent role in people’s lives, taking care and knowing what to do in these circumstances can avoid further upset and distress. I was delighted to speak to STEP and their global membership about the experiences we had and I hope going forward the measures put in place can help families resolve any problems quickly.”