Facebook will likely lose four in five of its users by the end of 2014 and die out by 2017 according to a study by two Princeton University doctoral candidates.
John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, doctoral students at the university’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have likened social media platforms like Facebook to a disease, saying “ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out”.
The contents of the study are radically different from a study by market research firm GlobalWebIndex, reported by HumanIPO yesterday, which said Facebook’s demise has been grossly over-exaggerated, and a World Wide Worx study last year which pointed to massive growth for the likes of Facebook and Twitter in South Africa at the expense of locally-developed platforms.
The Princeton study, which has not yet undergone the scrutiny of a peer-reviewing process, made use of epidemiological modelling to predict future social media trends using Google search queries as the basis for the research.
The researchers used search query results for Facebook in order to map the “adoption and abandonment phases” of the social network between 2004 and date of the study’s publication.
“Facebook is expected to undergo rapid decline in the upcoming years, shrinking to 20 per cent of its maximum size by December 2014,” the researchers said in their paper.