Dead people might outnumber the living on Facebook by the end of the century

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Sarah Biddlecombe

In today's most cheerful news, a statistician has estimated the number of deceased people on Facebook could outnumber the living by the end of the century.

Hachem Sadikki, a statistician from the University of Massachusetts, made the estimation by examining a sample from Facebook's 1.5billion user database alongside death rate reports compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sadikki predicts that there will be a decline in new users signing up to Facebook over the next 82 years and this, coupled with the company's policy of not automatically deleting the accounts of users who have passed away, could transform Facebook into a virtual graveyard.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

It is estimated that 972,000 Facebook users will pass away in the US alone this year, and it is not known how many of those accounts will be deleted.

Facebook currently offers users the option to nominate a 'legacy owner' for their account, who can manage it once they die, by posting messages and changing their profile pictures.

Only a legacy owner can fully delete a deceased user's profile, although those who do not nominate someone to fulfill the role can have their account hidden or memorialised by someone on their 'friends' list.


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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