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Social media sites provide another place to mourn loved ones

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Social media sites provide another place to mourn loved ones

If our digital selves are now extensions of our physical beings, then we can see Facebook as the biggest cemetery on Earth. Two years ago, when the number of Facebook users hit one billion, there were already an estimated 30 million "posthumously persistent" profiles of dead people on the world's most popular social-networking site.

Last year, two radically-contrasting media stories appeared in the same week. An Australian father spoke of how he would never dream of removing his dead son's profile, even though cyberbullying had contributed to his suicide. The profile felt like a comforting "hologram" of his son.


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