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Accounts of dead people on Facebook will soon overtake living ones by 2070

 
Based on Facebook's current growth, a study from the University of Oxford found that at least 1.4 billion of the
site's 2.3 billion users - 61 per cent - will die before the end of the century.

This will be the first time that the number of living accounts will exceed dead ones on the biggest social media website in the world.

Researchers claim it could force society to consider the longer-term consequences of social media usage. 


Lead author of the research, Carl Ohman, said: '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.

'On a societal level, we have just begun asking these questions and we have a long way to go.

'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.

'But the totality of the deceased user profiles also amounts to something larger than the sum of its parts. 'It is, or will at least become, part of our global digital heritage.'

'Facebook should invite historians, archivists, archaeologists and ethicists to participate in the process of curating the vast volume of accumulated data that we leave behind as we pass away.

'This is not just about finding solutions that will be sustainable for the next couple of years, but possibly for many decades ahead.'

Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is the world's largest social networking platform.

Facebook does have a system in place for when users die, which allows them to set a legacy contact to control their profile once they die, with the page becoming a memorial space rather than an active profile.

According to the social media site, more than 30 million people view these profiles on the platform every month.




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