“Facebook … is just beginning to show the onset of an abandonment phase,” the researchers note, predicting “a rapid decline in Facebook activity in the next few years.”
Why the dim prediction for the world’s most popular social network?
Princeton researchers John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler equate Facebook to something like an epidemic – it first spread like an infectious disease, but the public will slowly become immune to its novelty and it will then ultimately die out.
“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models...,” they note in their study. “Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other. Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of ‘immunity’ to the idea.”
Teen usage with Facebook is already declining as teens move in higher numbers to other platforms like WhatsApp and Snapchat. Facebook’s chief financial officer David Ebersman also recently announced that the site saw a decrease in daily users, particularly among younger teens, in the last three months.
Facebook will announce its latest traffic figures to investors at the end of the month.
Source: “Facebook Could Die Out Like an Infectious Disease by 2017,” Gizmodo (Jan. 23, 2014) and “Facebook on the Verge of Losing 80 Percent of its Users, Say Princeton Researchers,” TechSpot (Jan. 23, 2014)
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