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Tags: facebook | deaths | obituary | social media | population growth

Dead People Will Outnumber the Living on Facebook in 50 Years

Dead People Will Outnumber the Living on Facebook in 50 Years
(Matt Rourke/AP)

By    |   Monday, 29 April 2019 11:13 AM

In a creepy twist, projections indicate, in just 50 years, the number of Facebook profiles belonging to people who have died might far outnumber the accounts belonging to people who are still alive. This is an estimation made by academics of the Oxford Internet Institute who predicted, based on 2018 user levels, at least 1.4 billion Facebook members will die before 2100. If these projections are accurate, then the dead could outnumber the living by 2070.

They also forecast the number of deceased users could reach as high as 4.9 billion before the end of the century.

Academics put forward two scenarios in which this could take place. The first is based upon the assumption no new users would sign up with Facebook as of 2018. If this were the case then Asia's share of dead users would increase to nearly 44% of the total users on Facebook by the end of the century. Nearly half of those user profiles come from India and Indonesia, which will make up just about 279 million Facebook mortalities by 2100.

In the second scenario academics hypothesized, if Facebook continued to grow by its current rate of 13% globally each year until reaching market saturation, then countries such as Africa will make up a growing share of dead users. Meanwhile, Western users will account for only a minority of users.

This discovery gives rise to difficult questions such as who has the right to the data of the deceased on social networks and who should manage it.

"The management of our digital remains will eventually affect everyone who uses social media, since all of us will one day pass away and leave our data behind," said Carl Öhman, a doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute.

"These statistics give rise to new and difficult questions around who has the right to all this data, how should it be managed in the best interests of the families and friends of the deceased and its use by future historians to understand the past."

Öhman said these memorial profiles will eventually become part of our global heritage, which is why discussions on how to manage them was so important. Facebook currently allows for users to appoint a "legacy contact" who will look after their memorialized accounts once they have died or have the account permanently deleted.

David Watson, co-author of the study, noted that social media has allowed for a vast archive of human behavior and culture to exist in one place and the management of this data was vital.

"Controlling this archive will, in a sense, be to control our history. It is therefore important that we ensure that access to these historical data is not limited to a single for-profit firm. It is also important to make sure that future generations can use our digital heritage to understand their history," he said.

© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


TheWire
In a creepy twist, projections indicate, in just 50 years, the number of Facebook profiles belonging to people who have died might far outnumber the accounts belonging to people who are still alive.
facebook, deaths, obituary, social media, population growth
477
2019-13-29
Monday, 29 April 2019 11:13 AM
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