Princeton researchers predict Facebook will have 80% less users by 2017


A study being done at Princeton University predicts that the amount of people who use Facebook will decrease by 80% in the next three years.

The study, which is being conducted by Joshua Spechler and John Cannarella,who are part of the Princton’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department, reached their conclusion by comparing social networks to epidemics. Despite the fact that it has survived competitors like MySpace, they believe that by 2017 the social network’s popularity will be in a massive decline.

“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” Spechler and Cannarella say in their paper, which was named “Epidemiological modelling of online social network dynamics”.

“Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other,” they go on to say. “Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of ‘immunity’ to the idea.”

There is always a difference between theory and reality, and time will tell if the researcher are correct. There have been reports lately of a decrease in popularity in Facebook when it comes to teens, and if that trend continues Facebook could have a big problem. That being said, they also have a significant amount of resources with which they can try and stay alive and relevant with. So it’s probably best not to count them out just yet.

[via The Guardian, image via NIAID’s flickr]

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