Facebook replies to Princeton study forecasting sharp drop in usage
Billion-dollar corporations don't usually sit by idly if some university researchers compare them to a disease.
So it's no surprise that Facebook fired back at Princeton University.
This came after Princeton researchers John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler wrote a paper predicting that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its peak-user base between 2015 and 2017.
They came to this conclusion by likening the adoption of immense online social networks to an infection, and the abandonment to recovery.
Cannarella and Spechler relied heavily on the usage of Myspace, noting its rise paralleled that of Facebook.
"Moreover, the search query data suggests that Facebook has already reached the peak of its popularity and has entered a decline phase, as evidenced by the downward trend in search frequency after 2012," they pointed out.
Extrapolating on that, Cannarella and Spechler forecast a 20 percent drop below its maximum usage by December 2014 before the catastrophic fall in the next three years.
In his response, Facebook data scientist Mike Devlin mockingly began by saying he would keep to the scientific principle that "correlation equals causation".
He then noted that the percentage of published papers by Princeton researchers in journals has fallen "dramatically" since 2009.
Moreover, he pointed that there's a "strong correlation between the undergraduate enrollment of an institution and its Google Trends index—and in this area, Princeton search scores have also been on the decline.
"This trend suggests that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness," Devlin wrote with a touch of sarcasm. "Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth."
Facebook shares fell 3.85 percent today to close at $54.45.
The company's market capitalization stands at $132.6 billion.