At present, when a user passes away, Facebook transforms their page into a ‘memorialised’ version. The account of a dead person can be deleted only if someone with the password logs in and closes it down. However, few people have another person’s login information, so the account tends to remain active even after death.
According to Hachem Sadikki, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts in the United States, the social network will become the world’s biggest virtual graveyard by 2098.
His calculations are based on the assumption that Facebook will continue to not delete dead users automatically and that the site’s growth will soon begin to slow.
According to the online legacy planning company Digital Beyond, 9,70,000 Facebook users will die this year. In 2010 it was 3,85,968 and in 2012 it was 5,80,000.
The social networking site has tried to get around the problem by asking users to appoint a ‘Legacy Contact’, a sort of online executor of their will, before they die.