How Facebook Is Designing for an Incoming Avalanche of Dead Users

By 2050, the dead will outnumber the living on Facebook, and they have a team for that.

Facebook has a 20-person team that works on what it calls “Memorialization,” a euphemism for handling dead people’s profiles. Originally, the company just deleted profiles when it learned someone had died. But after hearing from users who wanted to preserve their deceased loved ones’ profiles, the company started memorializing accounts in 2007. In 2015, the company added a legacy contact, a beneficiary of sorts that profile owners can designate to make decisions about how to preserve their digital presence — and their privacy — after they are gone. And just last month, Facebook took its biggest step toward turning profiles into miniature archives by adding a separate tab on a deceased user’s profile that is specifically for tributes. That allows the person’s original timeline to stay intact.


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