Facebook could become the world’s biggest digital graveyard

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According to researchers from the University of Oxford, if Facebook continues to expand at current rates…

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

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The research describes an extremely conservative scenario in which Facebook gains no new users

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In this case, at least 1.4 billion users will be dead by 2100 and the year 2070 would be the tipping point when the dead outnumber the living on Facebook

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The researchers say that this trend that will have grave implications for how we treat our digital heritage in the future

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The analysis sets up two potential extreme scenarios:

The first scenario assumes that no new users join as of 2018

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“Nearly half of those profiles come from India and Indonesia, which together account for just under 279 million Facebook mortalities by 2100,” the researchers said

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The second scenario assumes that Facebook continues to grow by its current rate of 13% globally, every year, until each market reaches saturation

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Under these conditions, Africa will make up a growing share of dead users

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Lead author Carl Ohman, a doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) said, “these statistics give rise to difficult questions around who has the right to all this data…

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…. 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”

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