N.S. man fighting to remove deceased sister's Facebook profile after hack

·2 min read
Evan Cameron, right, and his sister, Ali, are seen together in a Facebook photo from 2007. A man in Iraq has taken over Ali's account since her death in 2013. (Submitted by Evan Cameron - image credit)
Evan Cameron, right, and his sister, Ali, are seen together in a Facebook photo from 2007. A man in Iraq has taken over Ali's account since her death in 2013. (Submitted by Evan Cameron - image credit)

A Nova Scotia man is fighting to have his deceased sister's Facebook account permanently removed from the social media site after her profile was hacked and is now being used by a stranger.

Evan Cameron said his sister, Ali, died of leukemia in 2013. Her Facebook account was disabled before her death.

"She did not want the account to be up after she had passed away," Cameron, who lives in Liverpool, told CBC Radio's Information Morning Halifax on Wednesday.

"It was a very deliberate decision knowing that there's a chance she was going to die."

Two years after Ali died, her Facebook account was reactivated by a man in Iraq, unbeknownst to her family.

The man started using the account as his own — changing the profile name and photo — but he still had access to Ali's old posts, photos, messages and contacts.

"You can tell when you look at the timeline that there are two distinct operators of the account," Cameron said.

"There's my sister up until when she died and then in 2015, this new user resurrected the account somehow and began posting."

The account URL is still under Ali's name.

Cameron said he became aware of the account when he noticed an unfamiliar Arabic name on his friend's list and some of Ali's friends reported getting messages from her account.

"Some of them were individually messaged, and it just sounds really awkward and very disturbing, obviously," he said.

"One person told me it turned into non-stop video call requests from this person."

Submitted by Evan Cameron
Submitted by Evan Cameron

Cameron said he has repeatedly reported the account to Facebook, but to no avail. He has also contacted police, but was told there's nothing they can do since the man isn't impersonating his sister.

"Sometimes I feel guilty that I don't try harder, but it just feels hopeless," he said.

Facebook declined an interview with CBC News, but a spokesperson said the company would look into the account.

It was still active as of Wednesday afternoon.

"It's just been a really sad thing to live with, to think about how simple you imagine [removing an account] being, having the power over your own digital legacy," said Cameron.

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