dead on facebook

Cyber Cemetery



launch platform pass away
profile share (2) subscribe
peruse point (3) cemetery
detail figure (3) account (3)
divulge respect permanent
allow in effect next of kin
privacy timeline memorialize
giant request space (2)
chance consider deceased
alert suggest server (2)
globe real time demonstrate
legacy whatnot presence
realm interact autobiography
fold (2) assume authorize
lame register fascinate
gossip enhance persuasion
evolve interact predictable
as if version biography


By Tony Brandon

Permanently Inactive Accounts

The number of the dead on Facebook is growing. By 2012, eight years after the social media platform was launched, around 30 million registered members had passed away.

That figure has since only gone up. Currently, more than 10,000 users die every day.

And this is just the beginning: less than 5% of all Facebook subscribers are over 65 — while over 60% are under 35.

At some point, statisticians believe in the year 2098, there will more dead profiles than living ones.

Facebook is, in effect, turning into a cyber-cemetery.


Deceased accounts cannot be deleted unless someone living knows their password (and Facebook respects user privacy, even after death, and won’t divulge access details, not even to next of kin).

But when users die, their profiles can be memorialized by a relative, allowing friends and family to share information on their timelines.

However if no such request is made, the social media giant — or any stranger who happens to chance upon them — thus still considers such users to be alive, and their account remain active, appearing in public spaces like suggested friends and birthday alerts in their contacts’ newsfeeds.

Though everyone eventually passes away, our digital identities live on … somewhere in cyberspace … in some distant computer server that holds our thoughts, memories, feelings, experiences and images.


So what does it mean for the living after we are gone?

Social media has demonstrated the power of the here and now, connecting in real time people around the globe, concerning everything from movies, pop stars and football games to social, political and economic issues, and whatnot.

Our continuous online presence is thus creating (and perhaps enhancing) people’s memories and legacies.

Historically, only great individuals had legacies because they or others wrote about them.

But digital technology is changing all that . . .

Nowadays, each of us spends hours each week, writing online autobiographies on social media and blogs.

Great, Great Grandmother

As I’ve told my grandmother, my grandchildren may be able to learn about her by studying her Facebook profile.

Assuming the social network doesn’t fold, they won’t just know about the major life events that would be part of my grandma’s authorized biography.

They’ll also learn, the tiny details of her day-to-day life: subjects that fascinated her, news and gossips she shared, which restaurants she and my grandfather liked to eat at, the lame jokes she laughed at.

Perusing my grandmother’s Facebook profile, anyone can discover her ideals, values, ideologies, religious beliefs, political persuasion, romantic fantasies.

And of course, they’ll have plenty of pictures to go with it.

By studying all this, my grandchildren will get to know their great, great grandmother, even if they have never met.


But what if you could live forever in the digital realm?

Technology is always evolving and ever unpredictable.

In the past few years, several tech companies have been working to create a digital version of “you” that will live on after your death. People in the future could actually interact with your memories, stories and ideas — almost as if they were talking to you.

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1. All Facebook users are alive. True or false?

2. What has been the trend? What will happen in the future?

3. When a Facebook user passes away, his or her account is automatically deactivated and removed. Yes or no? Why isn’t it automatically deactivated?

4. Is Facebook becoming more than a social media for the living?

5. Historically only great individuals are remembered. Is this correct or wrong? Is this changing?

6. Our descendants (great, great grandchildren) can know only the main things about us: our education, profession, residence. True or false?

7. Will many or most people today be part of “history”?


A. I have come upon Facebook pages, websites or blogs of dead people. Yes or no? How did it feel?

B. Are you and your friends active on Facebook or a blog?

C. My friends spend a lot of time on Facebook, uploading stories and pictures. True or false?

D. Are they writing and posting their diaries and autobiography?

E. I want to be remembered by future generations. I want to “go down in history.” Is this right or wrong?

F. What will happen in the future?

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