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1/23/2014
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Facebook To Lose 80% Of Users By 2017

Princeton University study says four out of five Facebook users will move on to other social networks.

Online social networks spread like disease epidemics, and Facebook will lose 80% of its victims -- I mean, users -- by 2017, according to a study from Princeton University researchers.

The study, "Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics" by John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler, makes a couple of interesting assumptions. First is the premise that epidemiology models can be applied to social networks.

The application of disease-like dynamics to [Online Social Network] adoption follows intuitively, since users typically join OSNs because their friends have already joined. The precedent for applying epidemiological models to non-disease applications has previously been set by research focused on modeling the spread of less-tangible applications such as ideas. Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models. Again, this follows intuitively, as 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.

The researchers used Google Trends search data to measure the popularity of Facebook over time. Again, this idea has precedence; the popularity of Google searches correlates with the spread of other trends.

Read the rest of this story on Internet Evolution.

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eleveneleven
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eleveneleven,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 12:56:19 PM
To what?
Google+ definitely won't steal 80%
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 1:02:04 PM
Re: To what?
I'm sure that's what MySpace said about the young whipper-snapper Facebook at one time. I'm sure you are correct the market won't go to Google, probably someone not even on radar yet. Look at emergence of SnapChat out of nowhere.

But 80% does seem kind of high by 2017. The younger kids may be that fickle but Facebook has penetrated pretty well into the Boomer generation. I don't see my wife and her friends of that age jumping around that much.
eleveneleven
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eleveneleven,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 1:19:56 PM
Re: To what?
SnapChat isn't a replacement, it's a suppliment. Just like Instagram (though Facebook owns them now).

 

It will be interesting to see if some new challenger shows up with an actual viable replacement, but I'm not sure how you can set a date and a number with absolutely no one currently showing the potential to steal FB users.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 1:30:02 PM
Re: To what?
Agreed. But author accomplished purpose of getting people like me and you to read it. :-)

I just mentioned SnapChat as example of how quickly things emerge today, you are absolutely correct it is not same service as Facebook. But that could change also, you never know.

The interesting thing in article was the conclusion it matches models typically used for predicting disease spread. I don't have the statistical chops to comment on that one. But that drove their prediction of 2017 and 80%.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 1:34:00 PM
Re: To what?
I agree, there's nothing really comparable to Facebook that people could jump to. I don't see Google+ being a factor. Perhaps having a Facebook-type social media profile will fall out of fashion and people will delete FB accounts with no replacement. After all, we have Instagram; we have LinkedIn; we have SnapChat; we have text messaging. Maybe phone calls will make a comeback. I basically use Facebook as a news feed now. As this story indicates, its relevance as a way to connect with people is fading.
anon0763686993
IW Pick
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anon0763686993,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 4:45:52 PM
Re: To what?
The research is based on Google Trends, aka global Google search statistics. Hence, to come to the conclusion they make, the following assumptions should hold true:

1. FB users use Google or the Chrome browser or and Android device to go to there FB account.

2. New users, that never heard of the URL of FB will and are using Google to search for it.

 

Both are completely irrealistic, hence the conclusions are based on quick stand.

 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 9:41:58 AM
Re: To what?
Got to agree. Facebook at this point is a web institution, like Google itself and Youtube. You only need to look at the fallout with Youtube recently to see that even with a big screw up that everyone hates, viewers and video makers alike, it doesn't matter, these sites are too big to fail. 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 8:39:46 PM
Re: To what?
Facebook has more than a billion users. That's an incredible number that no other websites or apps come close to. It's really, really difficult to imagine that in three short years, more than 800 million users across the globe will abandon the site.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 9:06:13 AM
Re: To what?
Facebook responded to the study here. It's an amusing read.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 10:33:47 AM
Publicity stunt
Princeton's application rate must be down relative to Harvard and Yale and it needed some Google juice. It's basic math that if (and I'm pulling these numbers from the air) 60% of the global population has the capability to open a Facebook account and 40% have done so, that growth rate cannot possibly continue at the same pace.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 1:45:58 PM
Re: Publicity stunt
Lorna, 

"Princeton's application rate must be down relative to Harvard and Yale and it needed some Google juice."

That's usually what happens. They start "reseaching" about social media topics. The latest in scientific research, that is. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2014 | 12:13:36 PM
Fascinating

Mitch, 

This is quite fascinating to compare the spread of ideas to the spread of infectious diseases. 

Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infIdeas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models. ectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models. 

What is the medicine to kill bad, or stupid ideas that spread quickly? Hmm What about vaccines? 

-Susan
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/24/2014 | 8:55:56 PM
Facebook responds
You can read more about Facebook's comment here: http://www.informationweek.com/software/social/facebook-predicts-princeton-wont-exist-in-2021-/d/d-id/1113573. Time to colonize the moon!
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2014 | 2:59:02 AM
Re : Facebook To Lose 80% Of Users By 2017
@ Susan Fourtane, may be that stupid and bad ideas die away naturally as they spread more and more? It actually happens this way. As more and more people are touched by stupid ideas, stupidity of those ideas become more and more exposed and eventually they die away. But I tend to agree that ideas are like infectious diseases and spread really quickly.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2014 | 3:01:01 AM
Re : Facebook To Lose 80% Of Users By 2017
I would only reverberate the general opinion of most of the people here. First logic is a very pertinent one that is to what Facebook is going to use its users. Without any website matching Facebook, it is a rather far-fetched idea that Facebook will lose currency in such short time. Starting today, if some website as promising as Facebook springs up, it will still take much longer time than three years to discount Facebook.
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