SACRAMENTO (CBS Sacramento) – A new study suggests that Facebook will lose more than half of its 800 million plus users by 2017.

The study, conducted by two Princeton University Ph.D. candidates Joshua Spechler and John Cannarella, cited ‘disease-like dynamics’ that will be the cause of Facebook’s future unpopularity.

Spechler and Cannarella present that Facebook is “beginning to show the onset of an abandonment phase” inside their study, “Epidemiological modeling of online social networks dynamics.”

“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.

The pair suggest that Facebook will eventually fade away and for an example, they used the rise and fall of social networking site MySpace.

“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out,” they write.

Some critics of their study disagreed with their prediction about Facebook.  Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies Inc., told MarketWatch that MySpace was a “bad example” in trying to decide where Facebook will be in three years.

“An epidemiological viewpoint does not factor in a tech platform that can evolve and re-invent itself over time,” Bajarin told MarketWatch. “Facebook has a huge audience to work with. They will lose some  people through attrition, but they can also try and attract new users too if the site evolves to meet new and different needs of an audience that also evolves over time.”

The study has not been peer-reviewed yet and Facebook has not released a comment concerning Spechler’s and Cannarella’s work.


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