If social networking is still a thing and if Facebook is still around by the end of the century, it could become the world’s biggest virtual graveyard, statisticians have claimed.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social network with around 1.5 billion users but could end up with having the profiles of dead users outnumbering those of living people.
This is in part due to two reasons: Facebook’s policy of not deleting the profiles of the dead, instead leaving them online as memorial pages, and also due to plateauing numbers of new users.
The prediction was made by Hachem Sadikki, a statistician from the University of Massachusetts.
Almost one million Facebook users are expected to die in 2016 alone. That’s nearly three times more than the number of users who died in 2010, when Facebook had a considerably smaller user base.
Because the only real way of deleting a Facebook account requires someone to login into the profile and delete it, when a user dies their profile remains online and automatically turned into a kind for memorial.
For some, the fact that loved ones can still appear on Facebook can be quite upsetting, especially when other users are notified of birthdays or reminded of special occasions they had previously shared with dearly departed loved ones whenever they log in to their newsfeed.
Facebook recently started to ask users to appoint a ‘Legacy Contact’ that has the power to write one final post after a person has died, as well as the profile and cover photos.
In 2013, it was estimated that as many as 20 million dead people have profiles on Facebook.