Are Deceased Social Media Accounts Outnumbering the Living? Here’s the Truth

The steep rise of social media adoption in recent years has led to a large number of accounts belonging to deceased people.

This particular population of social media users is called a ‘digital graveyard,’ and it’s going to be a huge problem in the coming days as predictions reveal that deceased social media accounts will eventually outnumber the living ones.

As revealed by ExpressVPN in a blog post, the number of deceased social media accounts from the United States will be double that of the country’s population by 2100. A similar trend is expected in other regions, too, where social media penetration rate is significant.

It’s high time that social media companies like Meta and X must take measures to deal with ‘digital graveyards’ to prevent problems while also maintaining past users’ legacy and protecting their data. Let’s have a brief look at how big this issue is.

Are Deceased Social Media Accounts Outnumbering the Living

What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts When You Die?

When you die, you leave a legacy in the natural and virtual worlds. Your social media account stays even when you have left the word and is remembered as your digital footprint. There are different actions for deceased social media accounts on various platforms.

On Facebook, your account turns into a ‘legacy profile,’ used as your memorial, and your close friend/family member can manage it. The platform will stop recommending your account in the “People You May” section, but it’ll still exist on the social networking.

Your loved ones also have an option to delete your account from the platform. A similar fate lies for your account on Instagram.

Meanwhile, on TiTok and X, your account is deleted after your death when a family member of yours informs them with the official certificate.

Google (and YouTube) have a different but pretty effective method of dealing with deceased accounts. There is an ‘Inactive Account Manager’ that notifies your contacts about the unfortunate news and allows them full access to the data. However, you must set up this feature before leaving this world.

Will the Deceased Social Media Accounts Outnumber the Living?

Since most social media accounts stay on the internet even after the user passes away, the number of ‘digital graveyards’ is bound to increase in the coming decades. There are over 5 billion social media users worldwide across all age groups.

As the cycle of time continues to move, many of these users will eventually leave this world someday and leave behind their digital legacy.

A study by ExpressVPN explored the projection of deceased social media accounts by 2100 based on the methodology of a 2019 Oxford University study on a similar topic.

The analysis covers four major social media platforms- Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter). It focuses on eight countries: the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. The findings are available below.

Data Unveiled

The U.S. Set to Reach 659 Million Deceased Users by 2100

The United States will have the most significant number of deceased social media users by 2100, 76 years from now. By the beginning of the next century, the U.S. will have 659 million deceased users, almost double the country’s predicted population of 366 million.

This high figure is due to America’s high social media penetration rate and a constantly growing user base. Keep in mind that the analysis is based on the assumption that the current trends will continue till then and the expected longevity of the population.

Here is a chart comparing the rise of deceased social media users in the U.S. to the country’s population in the coming years:

Data Revealed

Number of Deceased Social Media Users in Other Countries

The United States isn’t the only victim of ‘digital graveyards’; the phenomenon will also haunt other regions. In the U.K., there will be around 70 million deceased social media users by 2100, which is equal to the country’s projected living population in the year.

Italy and Spain will suffer a similar fate as the United States, with the deceased users will be almost double the living population.

At the same time, the Netherlands and Portugal are also projected to experience deceased users outnumbering the living ones by far.

Germany and France will also have more deceased social media users than their populations by 31 million and 38 million, respectively.

Here is a graph explaining the projected growth of deceased social media users and the living population in different countries over the years:

Data Analytics Of US Social Media

These findings are mainly due to the high social media penetration rate and the lower population growth rate in these countries. However, trends could change in the future due to unforeseen circumstances and technological advancements.

Social Media Platforms with Most Deceased Users in the Future

Most mainstream social media platforms with the most accounts will have the most significant number of deceased users.

Here is an analysis of the projected number of deceased social media users on four major social media sites- Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X over the coming years:

Data Of US Social Media Platforms

This study focuses on the U.S., the country with the most extensive social media user base, but a similar trend is expected in other regions, too.

Facebook will possibly have the most significant ‘digital graveyard’ with an estimated 278.6 million deceased users by 2100.

It would be followed by Instagram and TikTok, with 158.7 million and 126.5 million social media users who have passed away, respectively.

X will have a lower number of deceased users, 94.9 million, due to its slowed growth after the billionaire Elon Musk took over the platform.

Final Verdict: Deceased Users will Outnumber Living Ones

The current projection confirms that deceased social media users will outnumber living ones in the next few decades. According to the projections, the United States will host the biggest digital graveyard, while Facebook will have the most deceased social media users.

Other countries and platforms will have a similar scenario. This poses several major issues, such as data storage costs, data protection and management, and resource requirements for account management. Companies need to tackle them effectively.

You should also prepare for your digital legacy before leaving this world by taking measures such as adding your legacy contacts, having a digital will, and setting up features like Google’s Inactive Accounts Manager. That’s all for this post. Feel free to visit the comments section.

Related Stories:

Help Someone By Sharing This Article