Dead people on Facebook could outnumber the living

What will happen to Facebook as older users log off for eternity and younger people cease to sign up? Photo / iStock
What will happen to Facebook as older users log off for eternity and younger people cease to sign up? Photo / iStock

Facebook, once at the cutting edge of what was hot, is now more likely to be the place your great aunt posts her out of focus holiday snaps.

According to a stats expert, Facebook is set to change even more, eventually becoming a "digital graveyard" as its older users log off for eternity, and younger people stop signing up.

Hachem Sadikki, a statistician from the University of Massachusetts, in the US, says the number of deceased people on Facebook could outnumber the living by the end of the century.

As part of his research, Sadikki examined a sample from Facebook's 1.5 billion user database alongside death rate reports compiled by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The stats whiz says Facebook's bizarre future predicament will be due to a decline in new users signing up over the next 80-odd years, coupled with the tech company's policy of not automatically deleting the accounts of users who have passed away.

Currently, Facebook users can nominate a "legacy owner" who can manage their account once they die. If nobody is specified, the page can be hidden or memorialised by someone on the deceased person's friends list.

It is estimated that 972,000 Facebook users from the US alone will pass away this year, possibly leaving behind stagnant ghost pages in cyber space.

- nzherald.co.nz

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