What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

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Klear
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What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Klear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:25 pm UTC

http://whatif.xkcd.com/69/

When, if ever, will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than of living ones?

Emily Dunham


Image

Am I the only one who finds the idea of a dead person's facebook page extremely unsettling? There are people with hundreds and thousands "friends"... now imagine that a good portion of them are dead...

Glad I don't really use facebook.

Edit: Heh, I only just now noticed the joke in the title.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby eidako » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:27 pm UTC

If you're wondering, the gravestone's alt-text is the unicode escape for two black stars followed by three white stars : ★★☆☆☆

edit: article was fixed to display the characters, earlier it showed "★★☆☆☆"
Last edited by eidako on Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:30 pm UTC

spoilered for possible trigger/suicide:

Spoiler:
One of my best friends committed suicide earlier this year. Her Facebook page has since become her memorial, and I wonder if she had known how many people she touched if she wouldn't have killed herself. Is sad now.
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Klear
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Klear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

eidako wrote:If you're wondering, the gravestone's alt-text is the unicode escape for two black stars followed by three white stars : ★★☆☆☆


That's... that's terrible =D

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Soup » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

What-If wrote:US age/ usage


:P
Waiting for it...

Go username5243, musthavebeenmykarma, Rakhal, thunk!!

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby rhomboidal » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:11 pm UTC

I've heard of people including their social accounts in their wills and trusts to pass on to their beloved beneficiaries. I think I'd prefer having their priceless coffee-mugs-of-the-world collection instead.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:14 pm UTC

I keep thinking that someday I should write out a master list of all my passwords (and usernames) for the sites I'm an active member of the community on so that, in the event of my death, someone could let people know - the alternative, of course, is to make sure there's sufficient overlap between my communities that someone will be able to pass the word along...

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby MrT2 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:29 pm UTC

Presumably the Like button on the gravestone is linked to the internet... so is it appropriate to like it because you liked the person, or you like that they're no longer with us? (or there's some witticism/cat picture on the epitaph that you like)

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby dfjdejulio » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:46 pm UTC

I believe the answer fails to take into account the possibility of removing one's profile from Facebook. I do not know many people who have done so (temporarily disabling it is more common), but I know some.

Now, I know this is just anecdotal, but the vast majority of the folks I know who've removed their profiles have been alive.

So, if Facebook suddenly got "cooties" and the young fled from it, I think the date could come significantly sooner.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby willpellmn » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:56 pm UTC

A pity that What-If 69 had to be devoted to this morbid subject matter and couldn't be about something prurient.

The two graphs have no alt-text, was that intentional?

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby cornish2 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:01 pm UTC

The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Mike Rore » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:19 pm UTC

willpellmn wrote:The two graphs have no alt-text, was that intentional?


We should interpret that as "insert your witty comment here"

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:32 am UTC

dfjdejulio wrote:Now, I know this is just anecdotal, but the vast majority of the folks I know who've removed their profiles have been alive.

So, if Facebook suddenly got "cooties" and the young fled from it, I think the date could come significantly sooner.



I'd be more willing to bet that the majority of them would be more likely to go inactive and simply forget about them then to actively delete it.


Also, pointed out title pun in above comment is awesome.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:00 am UTC

Personally, having dead people on the site kind of weirds me out, especially on things like their birthday, when it prompts you to say happy birthday to someone who is no longer there to enjoy it.
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:07 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Personally, having dead people on the site kind of weirds me out, especially on things like their birthday, when it prompts you to say happy birthday to someone who is no longer there to enjoy it.

Maybe it should change to remind you of the anniversary of their death instead.

On second thought, maybe not.
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Istaro » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:50 am UTC

cornish2 wrote:
The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?


Just in case you're not kidding—I think "the average Facebook user has gotten older" is shorthand for "the mean age of all Facebook users has increased".

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:11 am UTC

Istaro wrote:
cornish2 wrote:
The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?


Just in case you're not kidding—I think "the average Facebook user has gotten older" is shorthand for "the mean age of all Facebook users has increased".

I've noticed this, too. It used to just be tweens and junior-high kids that were nasty little bags of snot on Facebook. But then the later teens became uppity... then the 20-somethings. If users in their 30s don't do something to halt the tide of aggression, then pretty soon I'll be obliged to start coming up with unpleasant things to say about crappy cat photos.

And I just do not have time for that. No sir.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Bounty » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:03 pm UTC

http://mydeathspace.com/article-list.aspx

I stumbled over this back before facebook was cool - it was a user submission index of the myspace accounts of dead people.

The most poignant comment I ever read on there was "I find it really disturbing that so many drunk driving deaths have user pictures of kids drinking."

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Zassounotsukushi » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:39 pm UTC

http://www.deadjournal.com/

Back when the internet was younger and less mature, the idea of your account persisting after your death was taken more seriously. These journals were all the rage back in 2003 or so.

I guess the idea has yet to be substantiated, since even with deadjournal, the majority of its users are still alive. Well, they're both alive and have stopped using the site.

I am now clicking "random grave", and wondering if the author is alive or dead. I'm surprised how many of updated it in 2013, although maybe that factors into its "random" algorithm.

It's all just as emo as I remember.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby endolith » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:28 pm UTC

What if we figure out how to stop dying by 2100?

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby JeffR23 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:38 pm UTC

Isn't this actually complicated by the current and future proportion of Facebook users who are completely fictional (and therefore theoretically immortal)?

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby jonbly » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:34 pm UTC

Living users will always generate more data than dead ones

Now there's a challenge...

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby styrofoam » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:51 am UTC

Sooner or later, we'll figure out how to mourn.


It's actually very simple.
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby eidako » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:12 am UTC


Missed a letter.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby bjd92275 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:22 am UTC

Have you ever read the Schismatrix?

Kind of a dumb question now that I think of it. Odds are you have. Perhaps this should be a new What If question? If not that then any one of several William Gibson books involving Molly.

Well - the whole idea of facebook continuing to host dead people's accounts rings enough bells with concepts used by Sterling and Gibson of people who have left artificial intelligence reproductions of themselves around to continue to interact with people.

Perhaps facebook will launch a new app?

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby thevicente » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:40 pm UTC

Istaro wrote:
cornish2 wrote:
The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?


Just in case you're not kidding—I think "the average Facebook user has gotten older" is shorthand for "the mean age of all Facebook users has increased".


Also note that if every facebook got older, the average got older too. 8-)

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby TrueNarnian » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:32 pm UTC

"Living users will always generate more data than dead ones" [citation needed]

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby ConMan » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:50 am UTC

thevicente wrote:
Istaro wrote:
cornish2 wrote:
The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?


Just in case you're not kidding—I think "the average Facebook user has gotten older" is shorthand for "the mean age of all Facebook users has increased".


Also note that if every facebook got older, the average got older too. 8-)

Which would be true if Facebook were a closed population, but it's more complicated than that - the age of the average Facebook user at time N is affected by the incoming population (new users) at time N, the outgoing population (deleted accounts) at time N-1, and the population remaining from time N-1 to time N. Since the incoming population includes a mix of older and younger people, it happens to not be dragging the average age down, and I'm guessing the outgoing population is small and broadly distributed enough to not have a large effect either.
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby dalcde » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:44 am UTC

thevicente wrote:
Istaro wrote:
cornish2 wrote:
The average Facebook user has gotten older over the last few years

Surely every Facebook user has gotten older?


Just in case you're not kidding—I think "the average Facebook user has gotten older" is shorthand for "the mean age of all Facebook users has increased".


Also note that if every facebook got older, the average got older too. 8-)


The average highschool graduate is getting older (or younger. Just made that statistic up)

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby SadinaSaphrite » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:44 am UTC

I put the fun back in dysfunctional and the romance back in necromancer!

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Klear
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Klear » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

SadinaSaphrite wrote:This is on the front page of Yahoo right now.



First time I've seen that.


First time I've seen the archive page.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby pokemega32 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

SadinaSaphrite wrote:This is on the front page of Yahoo right now.


I like how the writer refers to Munroe as "the unidentified blogger."

There was clearly quite a bit of research put into this.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby herbys » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:01 am UTC

Randall is assuming that people will continue to die of natural causes, which might be reasonable for fifty years or so, but not beyond that. By 2060 we will almost certainly have advanced life extension technologies that will change the math significantly (think basic stuff such as telomere extension or advanced stuff like full internal organ replacement or even whole body cloning and replacement), which will get more people into the 2100s which will offer even more advanced technology to extend our lives (by then, digitally if nothing else). The only thing limiting this will be either politics or bad retirement planning (people are saving for 20 years of retirement, not 200, so few will be able to afford this).

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby Philbert » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:38 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure that LinkedIn has a much higher percentage of dead people, since its target demographic is professionals and therefore older than Facebook's.
I already have 2 dead people in my LinkedIn contacts and probably more in the contacts surrounding them.

I plan to make a 'oh when I die' plan based around my Keepass file. (but haven't done it yet) It should help someone close all my accounts.

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:53 pm UTC

Philbert wrote:my Keepass file


Not being previously familiar with KeePass, I of course read this as "my keep-ass file."

Spoiler:
And then immediately followed with "my keep ass-file."


I now firmly believe this is how keepass should be pronounced.
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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:58 pm UTC

herbys wrote:Randall is assuming that people will continue to die of natural causes, which might be reasonable for fifty years or so, but not beyond that. By 2060 we will almost certainly have advanced life extension technologies that will change the math significantly (think basic stuff such as telomere extension or advanced stuff like full internal organ replacement or even whole body cloning and replacement), which will get more people into the 2100s which will offer even more advanced technology to extend our lives (by then, digitally if nothing else). The only thing limiting this will be either politics or bad retirement planning (people are saving for 20 years of retirement, not 200, so few will be able to afford this).


I think an assumption that death from old age will continue to happen pretty much the same way it has since records began is probably more sound than one that we'll suddenly change from eliminating causes of premature death to actual life extension. Still, by 2060, we should be able to ask strong AI powered by fusion reactors about it while travelling by hoverbike, and see whether they have a better prediction for us...

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:43 pm UTC

by 2060, we'll upload ourselves to facebook. (thank god i'll be dead by then)

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby brian1470 » Fri May 09, 2014 5:53 pm UTC

one thing is for sure that the doomsday would be near :D

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Re: What-If 0069: "Facebook of the Dead"

Postby onoresrts63 » Fri May 23, 2014 4:13 am UTC

Klear wrote:http://whatif.xkcd.com/69/

When, if ever, will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than of living ones?

Emily Dunham


Image

Am I the only one who finds the idea of a dead person's facebook page extremely unsettling? There are people with hundreds and thousands "friends"... now imagine that a good portion of them are dead...

Glad I don't really use facebook.

Edit: Heh, I only just now noticed the joke in the title.



They delete abandoned accounts


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