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Facebook's "disease-like" dynamics

Is Facebook like a spreading disease that’s about to fade away? Princeton study creates stir

January 22, 2014 - Marketwatch

Facebook could end up shedding a big chunk of its 1.2 billion users in three years, says a Princeton University study that cited ‘disease-like dynamics’ in the social network’s upcoming doom.

The study, by two Princeton Ph.D. candidates Joshua Spechler and John Cannarella, has created a stir by speculating that the world’s biggest social network could lose “80% of its peak user base” between 2015 and 2017.

In the study, “Epidemiological modeling of online social networks dynamics,” the Princeton students argue that Facebook is already “beginning to show the onset of an abandonment phase.”

“In this paper, we analyze the adoption and abandonment dynamics of online social networks by drawing analogy to the dynamics that govern the spread of infectious disease,” Spechler and Cannarella write.

Facebook, they suggest, is an idea, a fad that, like an illness, can spread — and then eventually fade away. They cited the rise and fall of MySpace.

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