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Facebook has a serious problem.
By the year 2070, dead users can surpass live on the social network, with possible consequences for how our digital profiles are stored, according to new research from the Oxford Internet Institute.
The researchers predict that at least 1.4 billion Facebook users will die before 2100, with the death than of life in about 50 years, based on the current growth of user rates.
“These statistics give rise to new and difficult questions around who has the right to this data, and how should these be managed in the interest of the families and friends of the deceased and the use by historians in the future to understand the past,” the study’s lead author, Carl Ohman, said in a press statement.
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As the study co-author David Watson, also a student at the Oxford Internet Institute, explained in a statement: “Never before in history has such an extensive archive of human behavior and culture are brought together in one place. The management of this archive, in a sense, be in control of our history. It is therefore important that we ensure that the access to this historical data is not limited to a single for-profit company. It is also important to ensure that future generations can make use of our digital heritage to understand their history.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in Washington in 2018.
The analysis suggests two different scenarios, both extremes. There is no growth of the user, with effect from 2018, while the other assumes that Facebook continues to grow at the current rate of 13 percent worldwide to reach market saturation.
The ubiquitous social network currently has 2.3 billion monthly active users, although some slowdown in growth in parts of the world recently when some users disconnect on privacy, and others turn to various social media platforms. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company pivot in the direction of more privacy-focused communication, which finally integrates the messaging services of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
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The predictions are based on data from the United Nations, which the researchers with the expected number of deaths and the total population of each country in the world, divided according to age, together with Facebook-the company’s data Insight in the target groups.
The study, whose findings were published in the journal Big Data & Society.