Don’t anyone tell Mark Zuckerburg, but a new study released from Princeton University suggests that Facebook usage is going to continue to grow for a few more years before it plummets down to Myspace type obscurity.
The study, published by Princeton University this month, used advanced epidemiological models to conclude that Facebook has reached the peak of popularity and is now entering a decline phase.
How bad does Zuckerburg have it? Pretty bad, the Princeton boys say. Facebook is going to lose as much as 80% of its user base by 2017. Of course, a social media website is not the same as an infectious disease, which is what epidemiologists usually study.
However, the researchers noted that ideas are like diseases, in that they spread in an infectious fashion among people before they eventually die out. They claim that idea manifesters will lose interest with the idea of Facebook eventually and will no longer promote that idea.
This study, it should be noted, has not yet been peer reviewed, and Facebook now has more than 850 million users. So, this finding should be taken with a grain or two of salt.
However! Facebook (recently sued for scanning private user messages – allegedly) has admitted in the recent past that it is losing teen users quickly. In fact, another study found that Facebook has 25% fewer teenage users this year than in 2011.
The graph that is below will not be the most reassuring image for Facebook, because Facebook’s decline is just starting to happen and is getting faster.
The researchers compared Facebook’s current reality to what happened with MySpace, which they say showed how adoption and abandonment of a social network can look very much like how a disease spreads. MySpace hit its peak in 2008 with 76 million users before it pretty much disappeared in 2011.
The curve for Facebook, which has seen a proliferation of apps that allow companies to sell directly on Facebook, shows that there has been a decline in total search activity beginning in 2013.
Of course, it should be noted that the online world is different than in 2005, which is when News Corp bought up Mypace for $600 million.
And as we mentioned earlier, this study has not been peer reviewed, so it remains to be seen if their predictions are going to bear fruit or not. It should be noted that the researchers on this study are from Princeton’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department. Smart guys, but they are not exactly experts on social media!