Ghosts in the Machine

Facebook has roughly 1.5 billion users, according to the Digital Beyond, an online legacy planning company, tens of millions of those Facebook users are already dead. Often when people die, their friends turn their Facebook profiles into memorials, digital profiles that friends and family can revisit in remembrance of their life. At some point in the not too distant future, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones.

You can inform Facebook in advance whether you’d like to have your account memorialized or permanently deleted from Facebook when you die. “Memorialized accounts” are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. Memorialized accounts have certain features for example the word “Remembering” will be shown next to the person’s name on their profile.

Hachem Sadikki,  Ph.D. candidate in statistics at University of Massachusetts, crunched the numbers and found that dead users on Facebook will surpass the number of living users in the year 2098. This forecast includes some assumptions about the future growth of Facebook and mortality rates. The trend away from Facebook by younger users to alternative social sites will bring the crossover date forward.

The Future of Facebook?

Of course others have already launched companies based on this fact of life. In the past few years,, launched in 2014, promises to create a digital version of “you” that will live on after your death. Death is certain, admits — but what if we could live forever as a digital avatar, “and people in the future could actually interact with your memories, stories and ideas, almost as if they were talking to you?”

If programs like succeed, not only will our grandchildren be able to study grandma’s memorialized Facebook they will also be able to ask Grandma’s avatar questions and receive answers which reflect her past behavior and beliefs.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

Adrian G Stewart

Adrian G Stewart

About adriangstewart

Senior executive with expert knowledge of all aspects of strategic marketing and a track record of creating sustainable competitive advantage. International management and leadership experience in both B2B and B2C organizations. Specialties:Strategic marketing management including; new product development, product life cycle management, business relationship management, market segmentation, marketing information systems, e-commerce and social media marketing.
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