Facebook fades away

Facebook is the largest online social network. It was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. There are 1,310,000,000 monthly active users. Photo courtesy: Beverly Liu
Facebook is the largest online social network. It was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. There are 1,310,000,000 monthly active users. Photo courtesy of Beverly Liu.

Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions, and the platform will be largely abandoned by 2017, say researchers at Princeton University.

Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.

“I never go on Facebook anymore. All of my friends and I used to use it all the time but now it’s like a dead social media to everyone,” said Ali Richter, 10.

The social network, which celebrated its 10th birthday on Feb. 4, has survived longer than rivals such as MySpace, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years.

   John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, from the U.S. University’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department based their prediction on the number of times Facebook is typed into Google as a search term.

For their study, Cannarella and Spechler used what is known as the SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered) model of disease, which creates equations to map the spread and recovery of epidemics.

They tested various equations against the lifespan of MySpace, before applying them to Facebook. MySpace was founded in 2003 and reached its peak in 2007 with 300 million registered users, before falling out of use by 2011.

The 870 million people using Facebook via their smartphones each month could explain the drop in Google searches – those looking to log on are no longer doing so by typing the word Facebook into Google.

The charts produced by the Google Trends service show Facebook searches peaked in December 2012 and have since begun to trail off.

“I always get notifications even though I never use it anymore but I remember I used to be addicted to Facebook,” said Chloe Bradley, 9.

Facebook reported nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users in October, and is due to update investors on its traffic numbers at the end of the month.

“Pretty much everyone remembers the shock of that moment when “my mother just asked to friend me on Facebook”. That is probably the single major reason that it lost status,” said Martin Gonzalez, 10.