Facebook Acquires Grim Reaper

In a surprise announcement after the close of trading today, Facebook revealed that it has purchased the Grim Reaper. Initial analyst reaction was generally positive, saying the move into the afterlife could help prop up sagging share prices since the company went public last week.

Facebook has yet to make any further comments, but sources close to the company say the bold move by Mark Zuckerberg is part of the company’s overall strategy of being involved in every aspect of peoples’ lives. The move into the afterlife is seen as a virtually untapped market.

With the purchase, Facebook essentially doubles their client base, as existing customers can continue to use the service after their passing. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Facebook executive said that “the new service will allow loved ones to remain in contact with the deceased after passing.” She noted that the merger will lessen the grief experienced by loved ones, as they will soon be able to receive status updates from the great beyond.

The executive declined to comment on specifics of the plan, especially how deceased individuals will be able to geo-tag their updates and check-ins beyond the mandatory check-in at the Gates of St. Peter.

Reaction from other companies was swift and harsh. Hasboro, the maker of Ouija Boards, issued a statement condemning the move, saying it would essentially kill a product line that has been in existence since 1890. Mystics and fortune-tellers also denounced the purchase, expecting a steep drop off in business. Others, though, expressed optimism that they may be able to increase market share by providing technical support for the new service.

Numerous other technical obstacles are in store for Facebook as the company gradually assumes the Grim Reaper operation. Ms. Carry Graves, a spokesperson for the Grim Reaper, made a brief statement after the announcement concerning the transition. “In order to facilitate the acquisition, Facebook will begin by assuming Reaper operations in the Western United States, before gradually expanding to other continents,” Ms. Graves said. The merger is expected to be complete by Halloween 2013.

When asked about why the Grim Reaper decided to sell his company after several millennia of highly profitable operations, Ms. Graves simply said that the Reaper was experiencing the effects of aging and was growing increasingly bored with a mature business model. Additionally, the Reaper is expecting to be able to settle down once and for all with a family, after having been married 273 times previously, each marriage ending in the death of his then current wife. The Guinness Book of World Records says that if the number of marriages can be verified, the Grim Reaper will hold the record for the most number of marriages ending in widower status.

In order to support the mass Reaper operation, Facebook will have to initially hire several hundred workers specially trained in graveyard shift work. Network administrator experts said that Facebook will have several challenges in front of them. For those who go to Heaven, server loads are not expected to be impacted. However, for individuals going to Hell, servers there will have to operate at several hundred degrees above normal loads. Cooling these servers could be problematic. More problematic, however, will be providing uninterrupted service to those in Purgatory as no one is quite sure where they are located.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, was asked at a campaign stop this evening about the merger. “Although I am not a user of Facebook at the present time, I may reconsider my position in the event of an untimely accident.” Mr. Romney then went on to ask reporters a rhetorical question, stating, “I could still be President using only Facebook, right?” Democratic operatives were quick to call the statement another potential flip-flop in positions by Mr. Romney.

President Obama declined to comment as he and the First Lady gathered vegetables from the White House garden. However, one high-placed official in the Social Security Administration expressed alarm at comments that presumably originated in the Romney camp. “From what we’re hearing, if elected, Mr. Romney would immediately move to privatize SSA by shifting all functions to Facebook. He sees a natural fit between issuing a social security number to newborns and opening up their Facebook accounts.”

In after-hours trading, Facebook shares were up 8.3% on the news. Analysts cautioned, however, that this gain may be short lived, as both Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission will have to review the purchase of the Reaper’s monopoly. Anti-trust concerns may loom in Facebook’s future as the company will have almost exclusive control over all information for individuals in perpetuity.

In a related development, LinkedIn, the popular professional networking service hastily announced that they will soon be launching a new service named DugIn for those who have passed. Integrating these new services with Facebook’s great beyond experiment will take time, said one industry official.

Copyright 2012 by Scott Cunningham

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