The dead are estimated to outnumber the living in the digital world by 2070, numbering somewhere between 1.4 billion and 4.9 billion, according to a new study by Carl J. Öhman and David Watson from the University of Oxford. Regardless of whether a conservative or liberal scenario is employed, both Asia and Africa will have the highest number of deceased individuals on Facebook in the coming years.
The rise of the digital dead is increasingly becoming an issue as more people begin to live their lives online, leaving behind a digital life as much as a physical one. Over the past four years, Facebook has been grappling with how to appropriately deal with profiles of dead users, trying to ensure that the friends of deceased users do not get Birthday notifications or invite suggestions from their deceased friend. Recently, the social network rolled out a memorial tab, which allows people to designate legacy contacts who can curate posts, modify tag settings, change or cover photos, pin posts, and respond to friend requests. Legacy contacts are not able to read private messages or remove friends or make new ones.