While we were running Entrustet we became famous for calculating how many Facebook users would die in a given year. Morbid, I know. Jesse and I originally calculated this stat in March 2010 on the eve of our launch at South By Southwest using user data provided by Facebook and death rates by the Centers for Disease Control. Since then, our estimate has been published in just about every media outlet imagineable. Since we were acquired by SecureSafe, we continue to receive media requests, including one from a large media outlet who asked if I could update the numbers.
In January 2011, we estimated that 408k US Facebook users would pass away in 2011 and 1.78m worldwide. Since then, Facebook has added ~300m new users for a grand total of 901m active users. After running the numbers, it’s quite clear the problem is getting bigger and accelerating quickly. As Facebook adds more users and its current user base greys, 580,000 US based Facebook users will pass away in 2012 and 2.89m will die worldwide.
It’s a growing number and a growing problem that both Facebook and its users will have to deal with now and increasingly in the future. One way to deal with it is via SecureSafe, a service where you can make a list of your digital assets and decide what happens to them when you pass away. It’ll be interesting to see how these numbers keep accelerating as Facebook continues to grow and adds its users continue to get older.