It’s now 2014, and it seems like almost everyone on the planet with an internet connection has a Facebook account, or at least knows what Facebook is. The social network grew up with the Web 2.0 movement and helped propel it as the dominating philosophy behind design of the web. With over a billion users, many think that Facebook will never go away. However, scientists at PrincetonUniversity are saying otherwise.
According to a recent report which is being shared throughout the internet (and all over Facebook itself), “academics at Princeton University” report that Facebook “could lose up to 80 percent of its users by 2017.” You might be wondering, how is that possible? There are hundreds of millions of active users ranging from young kids to senior citizens.
What exactly did these researchers base their claims on? They decided to study the demand for social media platforms using the number of Google searches. Essentially they compared MySpace’s Google search history with Facebook’s. After MySpace reached its zenith in 2008, it declined rapidly and ultimately fell into obscurity. The researchers are saying that Facebook reached its peak in December of 2012.
They even went as far to say that the decline of social media platforms like MySpace and Facebook spread and die like a disease. People become bored with the services and move on, much like when masses of people become immune and defeat a disease, preventing it from becoming widespread again.
As you can imagine, this report has generated quite a bit of criticism. Today is a different era than 2008. People all over the developing world are using mobile and other technologies to access Facebook and connect with others. The demand is global now, and access for billions more is becoming more possible each day. There’s no way to predict the future, but a majority of the critics on the web are viewing this report with extreme skepticism.
Come 2017, we’ll know if these researchers’ predictions were true, or not.