Dubious Princeton Study Likens Facebook Popularity to Bubonic Plague

Princeton University professors have made a terrible mistake. John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, researchers at the university's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, predicted that Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017. Why? Because, apparently, the social network is like an infectious disease: the epidemic began when people started signing up on Facebook like wildfire, and it kept spreading infectiously between people, but the rave will eventually die out, just as with epidemiological models. Much like the bubonic plague. Facebook has already reached its peak, reporting nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users this past October. Cannarella and Spechler based their study on charts by the Google Trends service, measuring how many times "Facebook" was typed into Google (these searches peaked in December 2012 but have since begun to trail off) and comparing them to the demise of MySpace.

In response to this brazen prediction, Facebook data scientists used Princeton's own model against them. The same methodology of tracking Google search trends demonstrates that Princeton is actually slipping in interest among its rivals and would lose all of its students by 2021. The point of this parody prediction by Facebook was to mock the initial analogy of social network to infectious disease that the Princeton professors had put so much weight behind. On the other hand, Facebook seems to have the viral popularity part down.

Image: Facebook.com

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