A new survey by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) predicts that the number of deceased members on Facebook will outnumber the living within fifty years. The OII which is part of the University of Oxford, says this phenomenon is a result of the digital heritage in the future.
Based on the number of users in 2018, at least 1.4 billion members will die before 2100. This is how the dead could outnumber the living by 2070. The survey analysis suggests that the number of deceased members could reach as high as 4.9 billion before the end of the century, provided the social network continued to expand at the current rate. The predictions are based on the data provided by the United Nations. It highlights the expected number of mortalities and total populations for every country in the world. Moreover, the number is distributed by age.
The results predict two scenarios, in the first, no new users join as of 2018. In such a hypothesis, Asia will have the largest share of dead users, which will increase rapidly to nearly 44% of the total by the end of the century. Nearly half of the deceased are predicted to be from India and Indonesia. The second scenario assumes that Facebook continues to grow globally and every year by its current rate of 13%, until each market reaches saturation. Under such circumstances, Africa, and Nigeria, in particular, will have the largest number of a growing share of dead users. Apart from the US, the results predict only a minor number of dead users from the west. The survey has been designed as a good measure, to preserve global digital heritage. Facebook is seen as a resource for human behavior and culture. Thus according to the researchers, controlling the Facebook archive will also help in controlling our history. This survey is seen as a futuristic tool to provide coming generations with an informative insight into digital history. However, the researchers emphasize that the result should be seen as an opportunity to shape and study the future and not as a comment on the current development. Although the team treats the source of Facebook merely as an example for connectivity and global reach, they confirm that the data for online death and its implications in no way comply with an urgent need. The team of researchers suggests seeking the help of authentic resource people like historians, archivists, archaeologists, and ethicists to curate the vast volume of accumulated data.