Social Media Virus Poster

Facebook May Lose 80% of Its User Base by 2017

Social networks function like infectious diseases, according to Princeton researchers. They spread fast—and then disappear

Like the bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually come to an end.

According to new research from Princeton, which compared the ”adoption and abandonment dynamics” of social networks by “drawing analogy to the dynamics that govern the spread of infectious disease,” Facebook is beginning to die out.

Specifically, the researchers concluded that “Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”


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(John Cannarella, Joshua A. Spechler/Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University)

“Ideas, like diseases,” the researchers note, ”have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models.”


Actor and director James Franco goes over the lines of a scene with actors Keegan Allen, Kylen Davis and Joey King (l-r) during the filming of "The Sound and the Fury" at Golden Oak Ranch in Santa Clarita, CA on January 7, 2014.

Tweet at us: Do you still use Facebook?

Basically, their idea is that infectious diseases (like measles) and social networks (like MySpace) behave in similar ways. In the early days, they spread quickly between people. Eventually, they reach a critical peak and then their prevalence or popularity declines. Using MySpace as a case study example—a social network that has gone through a full life-and-death cycle—the Princeton-ites uncannily demonstrated the analogy.


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Their argument, accessible here, is that Facebook faces a similar fate, and that its decline has already begun. Diseases are like ideas, the study says, and continues: “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.”

Then again, take the study with a grain of salt. Its authors are smart, for sure, but they’re based in the school’s department of mechanical and aerospace engineering—which isn’t exactly well-known for its reports on social networks. And Arvix, the journal in which the study appeared, is not peer-reviewed. 

UPDATE: Facebook has responded with a study of their own! They claim, rather hilariously, that “that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018.”

Respond Now
  • Is Facebook dieing or are humans dieing

  • It’s inevitable and completely expected. Myspace was a trend, it was fun to dress up your page and add your favorite music. Eventually, people will stop wanting minute to minute updates from their aunts and past teachers, and Candy Crush will whisper “sweet” one too many times, and they’ll just log out and never log back in. And by then, some other young genius will have come out with “MyFaceSpaceBook”, and everyone will flock like the mindless drones that we are.

  • Arvix???  Are you kidding me?  It’s “ArXiv” (pronounced like archive), and it’s not a journal.  It’s a pre-print server.  

  • Marcin uważa, że to ściema

  • PJ Fusco On The News already predicted this two years ago.

  • Facebook’s big problem is that its “All your friends gathered together in one place” model is broken for anyone who has anything more to say than banal platitudes or sharing baby photos. It’s an online equivalent of the awkward family dinner where there are subjects you can’t mention because they set off racist Uncle George.Far better to hold serious discussions on culture or politics on forums with like-minded people where you’re not obliged to walk on eggshells.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • That’s exactly why I avoid FaceBook – life is too short to have to walk on eggshells.

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Yeah, because being rude and socially unacceptable is the real spice of life!

  • Show More
  • Facebook is accelerating its own demise through its obvious liberal bias.  This bias is highlighted by its censorship of Christians and conservatives, and promotion of liberal groups and individuals.  In the mean time it is becoming used by an older, conservative demographic, who despise the many updates that keep changing what friends news feeds are displayed and simultaneously being shunned by a younger demographic who are always looking for the next new thing. Either Facebook must change its policies to accomodate its main demographic or it will tick off its main users and go the way of MySpace.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • … censorship of Christians and conservatives?  That’s funny.

  • Facebook has made changes that REALLY ANNOY some users.  Not surprising that usage has therefore dropped.

  • I think we’re also seeing the decline of the disease that is Barack Hussein Obama.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Racist off-topic comment is off-topic. And racist.Does anybody bother to moderate the comments on this site? Clearly not….

      2 Replies - Reply Now
      • Oh Thank you for your wise insight Kalyr…I must remember that in order for I and the like to not be labeled RACISTS…zzz zzz zzz that it is pertinent that we, by all means DO NOT put those three words together…Barack Hussein Obama.  Thank you again.  How does Oweasel sound?

      • How exactly is the aforementioned comment racist? Care to explain?

  • All this bad news can keep a guy down. If all this negativity has you down I got something for you. A melodic get away sure to uplift your hopes. | For the awakened!

  • The sooner the better.

  • If Facebook does not get rid of the “People You May KNow” feature, I WILL be leaving Facebook. NOthing but perverts and disgusting profile pictures. ARE YOU LISTENING FACEBOOK?

  • The replacement for Facebook is already here and already replacing it.  It’s called Twitter.

  • This probably won’t happen until something better comes along. As yet, there’s no evidence that will happen soon.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
  • When Facebook decided to go public, I told my wife it would be dead in a few years.  All that was required is for it to quit being “cool”.  When businesses started using it, and older people, it was no longer cool.  They went public to get rich and run.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Meanwhile, I’ve made 71.27% on my investment.

  • 80% of Facebook’s “user base” is already fake.

  • If you can get all the world’s economists to go silent when you prove to them that they don’t know the first thing they are talking about you just have to reach the core membership of trade unions and Facebook social membership networks will adapt or die instantly. My guess is that they will adapt because suicide is not a happy thought and the human strives towards the perfection we see in perfect mother nature that is not monotonous like the human who thinks it is different until it realizes that it has been easily fooled by the money that fooled every economist but not those pulling their stringsGary S.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • 2 run-on sentences, posing as a paragraph: D-Content, indecipherable: F

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Posting about Grammar, punctuation, and spelling is even worse.

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • I don’t agree. What’s worse is someone misunderstanding a comment BECAUSE of bad spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

  • I learned from MySpace that I have no use for social networking.  No matter how much they demand I join Facebook, I’m not going to do it.Google+ can go to hell also.

  • threy should put thier money where thier mouth is and invest all thier money in SHORTING THE STOCK. Otherwise they can stfu

  • MySpace died because Facebook took over.  For Facebook to die, there has to be something to replace it for people to switch to.  I see no sign that Google+ or any other site is going to replace facebook in the next couple of years.

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • How about if common sence replaces it?

    • Going outdoors is another option.

  • “They’ll never forget you ’till somebody new comes along”

  • There is one grave parameter this study is leaving out. Boomerang 101, 404, 901, move Bee Ferry Landfill ahead by 3 spaces, wager 3 USER bitcoins, Facebook Nancy Mace “effect”, Pintarest “Back to School”

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    • I think you spelled Pinterest incorrectly. 

  • I think the same will be true for Twitter. It’s the age we live in. The next great thing lasts for a few years until the next next great thing comes along. Facebook started in what 2005? So it will last about 10 years. The next next thing will probably last 8 years. And the next next next thing 5 years and so on.

  • facebook juggles your contacs as it wants and stops your close friends feed from appearing, if you have a popular page they try to extort $$ from you or they limit the audience that sees it….yes they sukkazz!

  • what Pauline replied I am blown away that any body able to earn $4429 in 4 weeks on the internet . Learn More Here… http://WWW.TEC80.COⅯ

  • Preservation depends upon innovation. Something that Myspace overlooked.

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Large organizations are not good at innovation.  Tell me how that is working for Microsoft again?

    • Genuine question – do you find Facebook innovative?

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Simple answer. No. @facebook CHANGES all the time, but is not innovative. just causes user heartache.

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • I tend to agree, Boilerjunkie. 

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