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N&N: Study shows that Facebook users will decline by 2017

Two Princeton Ph.D. students of mechanical and aerospace engineering, John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, submitted a publication whose research predicts that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its users by 2017.

Cannarella and Spechler conducted their research using an epidemiological model called SIR, which considers the number susceptible to, infected by and recovered from an infectious disease to predict the spread of that disease within a population. They argued that social networks grow and wane in popularity in a manner similar to the spread of and recovery from a disease, SIR has previously been used to study the spread of technological innovations.

Cannarella and Spechler tested the SIR model by comparing it to the rise and fall of MySpace based on how many times ‘MySpace’ was typed into Google. Finding that it fit well, they then used it to model Google search data for Facebook. As there has been a recent decline in Google search queries for Facebook, the model predicted an 80 percent decline, or loss of 952 million users, within the next 3 years.
Cannarella and Snechler’s research has been submitted to arXiv but is still undergoing a peer-review process.
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