Is Facebook Losing Fans?
January 24, 2014
Researchers from Princeton University are predicting that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its peak users between 2015 and 2017. What’s more, Facebook could suffer the same fate as MySpace, the once popular social network that has mostly faded away.
“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 more like an epidemic – it first spread like an infectious disease, but the public will slowly become immune to its novelty and it’ll then ultimately die out. They note in the study:
"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models... Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other,” the researchers note. “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 showing a decline, 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)
Updated: June 21, 2018