If you’ve ever felt like Facebook is little more than an epidemic spreading through society like a contagious disease, you might not be too far off base. Researchers from Princeton University have ultimately reached the same grim diagnosis, believing that users will slowly become immune to its attraction and will eventually lose interest.
Researchers point out that like diseases, ideas have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out. Such ideas have been successfully described in the past using epidemiological models, which is what Princeton’s best are attempting to do here.
This line of thinking was applied to other failed social networks like MySpace and then to Facebook. If their model proves accurate, the social network will lose 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.
Of course, predicting the decline of Facebook is not exactly a new idea. We’ve been hearing for months that teen usage has been trending downward and these lucrative users are moving to other platforms like WhatsApp and Snapchat. Teens no doubt have a short attention span but the fact that their parents (and even grandparents) are now using the site is often cited as one of the main reasons for the decline.
Earlier this week, research firm GlobalWebIndex found that it’s far too early to write the site off and there is still a strong presence of active users overall. Facebook is expected to report traffic figures to investors at the end of this month so we’ll have a more solid outlook at that point.