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Facebook 2017: By Then, Up to 80 Percent of Users May Be Gone

Image: Facebook 2017: By Then, Up to 80 Percent of Users May Be Gone

By Michael Mullins   |   Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 08:58 AM

By 2017 Facebook could lose up to 80 percent of its users, according to researchers at Princeton University.

By combining data from Google Trends with the growth curve of an epidemic, John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, of Princeton's mechanical and aerospace engineering department, concluded that Facebook "will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017," Sky News reported.

According to the report, most people join social networks with the expectation that they will stay indefinitely, "but ultimately [the individual] loses interest as their peers begin to lose interest."

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"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models," the authors claim in a paper entitled Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.

"Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other," the report continued. "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."

According to the analysis, Google searches for Facebook peaked in December 2012, much like 2008 was a peak year for Myspace before it entered its terminal decline.

As of October 2013, Facebook reported to have nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users. In comparison, MySpace.com, which was founded in 2003 one year before Facebook, has 50 million users as of last June.

At one point MySpace and the former social networking site Friendster, which is now a gaming website, were the top social media sites on the internet. It should be noted, however, that at its peak MySpace had nearly 76 million users, the Los Angeles Times reported.

So if Facebook is declining, what will replace it?

According to Professor Daniel Miller, of University College London, less complex social media websites such as Twitter and Snapchat will fill the void, Sky News reported.

Miller blames the lack of interest in Facebook from young people turning away due to the increased interest from older generations who while adding to their stock value apparently cramp Facebook's hip image in turn.

"What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person's decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request," Miller told Sky News.

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