800 Million Facebook Users Will Just Spontaneously Leave By 2017 [Study]

800 million facebook users leaving

Today in “meaningless crap labeled study,” 800 million or more Facebook members will just up and leave the social network between 2015 and 2017.

Why? Well, according to stoned grad studentsresearchers at Princeton, because people will just get bored of it by about that time.

With a hypothesis that seems way too complicated for its own good, they figure that because people got bored with MySpace, people will also get bored with Facebook in about the same amount of time. Also, diseases factor into this somehow. No, seriously:

“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. The application of disease-like dynamics to OSN 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.”

Now I’m no Princeton stoned grad student researcher, but there seem to be a few problems with the premise. For one, people become immune to diseases and ideas for different reasons. They become immune to ideas primarily because there’s a better idea they jump ship for, or because an idea just isn’t useful anymore.

We’ll stick to MySpace since it was their example (and really the only example). People didn’t leave MySpace because social media isn’t useful. If anything, the reverse is very obviously true. MySpace was gutted because Facebook was a bigger and better product.

So for Facebook to experience this mass exodus the study predicts, there would have to be a bigger, badder social network that people flock to instead. The only thing even comparable to Facebook in terms of raw size and innovation would be Google+, but they’ve been around for years now with all of that Google money and infrastructure behind them and still haven’t managed to make it happen.

Could they? Sure. Are they? That’s controversial, but we’ll just say “not really right now.”

So saying that 800 million Facebook users are just going to up and leave because they’re bored sounds like … well … like bullshit.

But who knows. What do you think? Will 800 million Facebook users pack up and ship out by 2017? Sound off!

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.


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