Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | STUFF -

The dead may take over Face­book within 50 years, re­searchers have re­vealed.

As more and more peo­ple die and leave “ghost pro­files” be­hind, they will even­tu­ally over­take the num­ber of liv­ing users. Pro­files of the dead could num­ber nearly five bil­lion by 2100, sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford pre­dict. They say Face­book will be­come a huge mor­tu­ary for peo­ple’s dig­i­tal per­sonas that may need his­to­ri­ans to look af­ter it.

“Face­book should in­vite his­to­ri­ans, ar­chiv­ists, arche­ol­o­gists and ethi­cists to par­tic­i­pate in the process of cu­rat­ing the vast vol­ume of ac­cu­mu­lated data that we leave be­hind as we pass away,” said David Wat­son, an ex­pert at the Ox­ford In­ter­net In­sti­tute who worked on the re­search.

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

The team com­bined United Na­tions data on global death rates with Face­book data scraped from the com­pany’s Au­di­ence In­sights fea­ture.

Their anal­y­sis pre­dicts that, based on 2018 user num­bers, at least 1.4 bil­lion Face­book mem­bers will die be­fore 2100.

Un­der this scenario, the dead will out­num­ber the liv­ing on the plat­form by 2070.

If Face­book con­tin­ues to ex­pand at cur­rent rates, how­ever, the num­ber of dead users could reach as high as 4.9 bil­lion be­fore the end of the cen­tury.

Re­searchers said the site had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to look af­ter its records of the dead.

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