Recently, the social networking website Facebook generated a lot of attention following a study done by Princeton students, that predicts the death of the social networking website by sometime in 2017. According to researchers at Princeton, Facebook can expect to lose at least 80 percent of its users by the year 2017. In addition, the researchers commented saying, “The death of Facebook will be like an infectious disease, compared to the likes of the bubonic plague.”
This study was held by scientists in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. During the study the researchers compared Facebook to disease models, and came upon this conclusion based off the idea that more people will stop using the website as their peers continue to do so. Also, the scientists compared Facebook to other successful means of social media in the past, such as Myspace, in order to reach their conclusion about Facebook’s predicted death. According to Princeton researchers, “Ideas like Facebook are like diseases. They have a tendency to spread like an infectious diseases, and they die out in the same manner over time. In addition, this can be successfully depicted using epidemiological models.”
Researchers John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, who conducted this research study, further elaborated with their statement, “Concepts are dispersed through communication by people with the same idea. Over time, it is inevitable that people will lose interest in the concept, and as a result the concept is no longer being manifested which can be considered as an immunity so to speak of the concept.”
Facebook however, seems completely unfazed by the results of the Princeton study. In response to the Princeton study, Facebook, which is close to celebrating its 10th anniversary, mocked Princeton by conducting a study of their own. Seeing the whole thing as a joke, Facebook used the same model with Princeton University, and made their own prediction so to speak, that Princeton will not have any students by 2021.
Following this mock prediction, Facebook made a statement saying, “Honestly, we don’t think either the world air supply or Princeton will be going anywhere anytime soon. This was done as a friendly reminder that all research can not be treated equally, and that there are methods to analyzing that can result in some pretty bizarre deductions, furthermore, we wish to mention that we dearly love both Princeton and air.”
Even though the science behind the death of Facebook may seem to add up, it is highly unlikely that the social media giant will die out, at least by 2017. In it’s tenth year, Facebook has already surpassed the lifespan of any other form of social media, such as MySpace or Bebo. It would not be fair to compare Facebook to the likes of either, because Facebook reported that they had over 1.2 billion users back in September of last year. Whereas, MySpace peaked at 75.9 million users before Facebook won over most of their users. In addition, if Facebook were to see its death by 2017, the company would have to lose 952 million users over the course of the next three years. A loss rate of over 313 million per year, which seems very improbable.
By Aaron Weis