Dead Facebook users may outnumber the living by 2070: report

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The number of living Facebook users will likely be outnumbered by those that are dead within the next 50 years, according to research from Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute.

In its report, the Oxford Internet Institute presented two scenarios where this will happen.

Last week, Facebook confirmed it has 2.38 billion monthly active users (MAU). In comparison, an estimated 8,000 Facebook users die each day. In the unlikely situation where Facebook’s MAU count does now grow, Oxford predicts that there will be more dead users than living by 2070.

In the second scenario, where Facebook users increase 13 percent every year, there will be about 4.9 billion dead users by 2100, according to Oxford.

“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,” said Carl Öhman, lead author of the Oxford Internet Institute report.

Specifically, this research comes at a time when Facebook is thinking more critically about how to respectfully handle dead users’ accounts. Earlier this month, the company announced a series of features aimed at helping friends and families manage a deceased loved one’s account.

Facebook is also working to improve its algorithms so that Facebook users aren’t sent potentially upsetting reminders to send birthday messages or event invites to those who have died.

Source: Oxford Internet Institute