While we’ve all been sitting here worried about the coming zombie apocalypse, the truth is we’ve already been infected. But instead of rotting flesh and vacant eyes, we’ve been infected by Facebook (which also is known to cause vacant eyes and drooling if you stare at it too long). Researchers say the cure is coming, or at least this infectious disease will fade out in the coming years.
Researchers at Princeton University say that the social network is like an infectious disease, which has a hefty spike before plummeting to its death, reports the AFP. Or its decline, same thing.
The two doctoral candidates in mechanical and aerospace engineering say Facebook will shed 80% of its users by 2017. As things stand right now, if we set Facebook’s total users at about 1.1 billion (according to recent claims) that would mean 880,000,000 people jumping ship. Ooh, fewer baby pictures to sort through!
The researchers make these claims in a new paper published online, which incorporates the rise and fall of Facebook’s social network predecessor MySpace. The clock is ticking, say the authors.
“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” they wrote.
Things have been going downhill in terms of data usage since 2012, the study adds, and things will only get worse.
“Facebook is expected to undergo rapid decline in the upcoming years, shrinking to 20 percent of its maximum size by December 2014,” said the report. “Extrapolating the best ﬁt model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”
The piece is still waiting to undergo the peer review process before it’s formally published. No doubt others will come out with a study saying Facebook will someday morph into an all-knowing robot being who can read our minds and control our every moves as part of some kind of hive-mind society.
Facebook could fade out like a disease [AFP]