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Facebook will have more dead people than living ones by the end of the century, researcher claims

When you die, Facebook turns your page into a 'memorial' — leaving a kind of digital graveyard as more and more people pass away

Andrew Griffin
Monday 07 March 2016 17:51 GMT

Facebook will become a digital graveyard by the end of the century, with more memorials to the dead than living users, according to a researcher.

The site could have accounts for more dead people than living ones by the end of 2098, according to Hachem Sadikki, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts. That number is based on a model of the number of people joining Facebook and the number that are dying, he told Fusion.

The projection could be proven wrong on a number of points, especially since it assumes that Facebook’s growth will plateau and the life expectancy of its users will stay largely the same. But it shows how Facebook is populated with a growing number of pages for dead people.

When its user die, the site memorialises their page rather than deleting it. That means that people stay around on the site, albeit with a modified page that is intended to be used for people to leave memories and thoughts.

The only way that a profile can be fully deleted is by someone with the account details, who get rid of it like a normal account.

The calculation chimes with a post on Randall Monroe’s XKCD in 2013, which estimated that the site would have more dead than living members by either 2060 or 2130. The accurate number depended on how Facebook’s growth rates continue in the coming decades.

There were about 10 to 20 million people who created Facebook profiles and died since, he wrote then.

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