Facebook ‘could have more dead users than living’

Josh Hall's picture

There could be more dead Facebook users than living within 50 years, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Oxford.

Based on Facebook’s current user levels, the report predicts that in the most conservative case there will be 1.4 billion deceased users on the platform in half a century, while the most extreme case could see that figure rise to almost 5 billion.

In that most extreme case, there would be more dead users than living if Facebook also failed to attract new users during the period.

The role of digital platforms in death and legacies has garnered more attention in recent years, with both researchers and tech giants themselves doing more to address the issue.

There are questions around the ownership of digital data after users pass away.

The study’s lead author Carl Ohlman said: “These statistics give rise to new and difficult questions around who has the right to all this data.

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

Facebook has recently introduced new features allowing families of deceased users to take control of some of the data left behind.

It has changed its interface to stop encouraging users to do things like invite dead users to events.

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