By 2100 there could be 4.9bn dead users on Facebook. So who controls our digital legacy after we have gone? As Black Mirror returns, we delve into the issue

Esther Earl never meant to tweet after she died. On 25 August 2010, the 16-year-old internet vlogger died after a four-year battle with thyroid cancer. In her early teens, Esther had gained a loyal following online, where she posted about her love of Harry Potter, and her illness. Then, on 18 February 2011 – six months after her death – Esther posted a message on her Twitter account, @crazycrayon.

“It’s currently Friday, January 14 of the year 2010. just wanted to say: I seriously hope that I’m alive when this posts,” she wrote, adding an emoji of a smiling face in sunglasses. Her mother, Lori Earl from Massachusetts, tells me Esther’s online friends were “freaked out” by the tweet.

Our devices capture so much stuff, we don't think about the consequences for when we're not here

If we don’t start making decisions about our digital deaths, then someone else will be making them for us

Related: How close are we to a Black Mirror-style digital afterlife?

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