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BizReport : Social Marketing : January 24, 2014

Princeton data suggesting Facebook's demise prompts humorous comeback from network's data scientists

The rise, or fall, of social network giant Facebook is a debate that rages on. While some research reveals reports of Facebook's demise are grossly exaggerated, yet more research suggests a mass exodus of users from the network by 2017.

by Helen Leggatt

According to researchers at Princeton University, within the next three years 80% of Facebook users will have abandoned the social network. Researchers at Princeton's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have likened the social network to an epidemic and used disease models to show the mass adoption and subsequent death of Facebook. In their study, "Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics" (not peer reviewed), they predict that Facebook will come to a sudden end much like an infectious disease that runs rampant before quickly expiring.

Princeton's somewhat technical conclusion is this. "Having validated the irSIR model of OSN dynamics on Google data for search query Myspace, we then applied the model to the Google data for search query Facebook. Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017."

In what Mashable's Chris Taylor aptly calls "the world's nerdiest grudge match", Facebook has responded with humor to Princeton's research. The tongue-firmly-in-cheek comeback, written by Facebook data scientists Mike Develin, Lada Adamic and Sean Taylor reveals that Princeton, too, is sure to cease to exist in the near future.

Their 'data', they say, "suggests that Princeton will have only half its current enrolment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth". Check out the full Facebook response for all the, err, facts and figures.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Facebook, social media, social network

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