Number of dead people may outnumber the living on Facebook in 50 years

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PHOENIX- Have you ever heard of a digital graveyard? 

A new study by the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute has predicted that the dead will outnumber the living on Facebook in 2070. 

Last week, Carl Öhman, and David Watson wrote a paper based on the social network’s basic membership numbers. When looking at 2018 user levels, they predict over 1.4 billion members will die before 2100. If Facebook continues to grow at its current rate of 13% a year, the number of deceased members would grow to 4.9 billion by the end of the century. 

Compare this with the 2.8 billion active members Facebook reports to have each month.

Though this statistic is quite frightening, this is not the most important takeaway. The two authors wanted to bring attention to the importance of preserving this information online for future generations. 

Watson explained in the report, “Never before in history has such a vast archive of human behavior and culture been assembled in one place. Controlling this archive will, in a sense, be to control our history.”

Watson also added his desire for Facebook to bring historians to the network to curate the mass amounts of data. He states this will not only help us find solutions sustainable for the next couple of years but for the many decades to come. 

Currently, when a Facebook user dies, the family has the option to “memorialize” the account. This allows people to be able to visit the profile without anyone logging into the profile. The family is also allowed to remove the profile of the deceased loved-one if they choose. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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