What brought me to this doing this article was getting a friend request from a dead person and then realising many of this person’s friends were also dead !
If I accept am I having a psychologically twisted relationship with my dead friend.
About 500.000 US Facebook users will die (or have died) in 2015. The worldwide total for 2015 is likely several million
In just seven years, this death rate will double, and in seven more years it will double again.
Even if Facebook closes registration tomorrow, the number of deaths per year will continue to grow for many decades, as the generation who was in college between 2000 and 2020 grows old.
The deciding factor in when the dead will outnumber the living is whether Facebook adds new living users—ideally, young ones—fast enough to outrun this tide of death for a while.
This brings us to the question of Facebook’s future.
We don’t have enough experience with social networks to say with any kind of certainty how long Facebook will last. Most websites have flared up and then gradually declined in popularity, so it’s reasonable to assume Facebook will follow that pattern.
In that scenario, where Facebook starts losing market share later this decade and never recovers, Facebook’s crossover date—the date when the dead outnumber the living—will come sometime around 2065.
But maybe it won’t. Maybe it will take on a role like the TCP protocol, where it becomes a piece of infrastructure on which other things are built, and has the inertia of consensus.
If Facebook is with us for generations, then the crossover date could be as late as the mid-2100s.
That seems unlikely. Nothing lasts forever, and rapid change has been the norm for anything built on computer technology. The ground is littered with the bones of websites and technologies that seemed like permanent institutions ten years ago.
Right now, next-of-kin can convert a dead person’s Facebook profile into a memorial page. But there are a lot of questions surrounding passwords and access to private data that we haven’t yet developed social norms for. Should accounts remain accessible? What should be made private? Should next-of-kin have the right to access email? Should memorial pages have comments? How do we handle trolling and vandalism? Should people be allowed to interact with dead user accounts? What lists of friends should they show up on?
Here is a story from a Facebook user.
Should You Unfriend A Dead Friend On Facebook?
A few months ago, I lost a sisterfriend, who was near and dear to my heart. She was an avid Facebooker and would constantly keep tabs on the status updates of her friends with glee. She was also a commedienne, and her up-to-the-minute comments would have us all rolling on the floor.
Now that my friend is gone, she still lives on, oddly enough, via Facebook.
My friend’s family members are well aware that Facebook admins can turn her page into a memorial and proof of death, while helpful, is not required.
Since a Facebook account cannot be removed due to inactivity, the deceased person’s profile can remain active until someone notifies the company.
Once you memorialize an account, the deceased person won’t pop up in “people you may know” suggestions or in search results.
The site also removes the memorialized person’s wall posts, contact information, and status updates, so no one has to be reminded about how often my friend and I loved watching the filmThere’s Something About Mary.
My friend has 303 people on her Facebook site. It has now been four months since her passing and not one person has unfriended her.
I visit her page each day, several times a day in fact and still, friends have continued to post comments, share stories and pictures, plus even hold one-sided conversations with her. She still receives pokes and offers to play games.
I too, am guilty of following suit, making it the first order of my day and to make sure, I keep her abreast of things that are going on around me.
Yet, I wonder, is there something morbidly voyeuristic about having an online presence, when someone is deceased? Is it possible that all 303 of us friends are psychologically twisted, choosing to continue a relationship with a Facebook ghost?
Again, we all have the option of unfriending my friend and yet, no one has, thus far. Does continuing to see a deceased friend’s page help with the grieving process, is it a cathartic coping mechanism? Does no one dare unfriend her and risk being looked upon, as an insensitive automoton?
Psychobabble experts say, that journaling is a good thing, so maybe writing on a deceased person’s Facebook page is a form of it and helps heal the hurt. Who knows, I’m certainly no Ph.D. but as far as I’m concerned, my friend lives on, for now….
Here’s to you, Bees!
Here is another on Have you had a dead friend communicate with you on Facebook.
This Guy’s Story About His Dead Girlfriend Facebooking Him Might Be The Scariest Thing On The Internet
Here are a few things you can do if you find one of your friends are dead.
https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/228813257197480 Special Request for Deceased Person’s Account
Please use this form to request the removal of a deceased person’s account or for memorialization special requests. We extend our condolences and appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process. Unrelated inquires received through this channel may not receive a response. To protect the privacy of people on Facebook, we cannot provide anyone with login information for accounts.
Please note that we require verification that you are an immediate family member or executor for account removal or special requests.
https://www.facebook.com/help/408583372511972 Report a Deceased Person