Facebook might be seeing an exodus of users given the rise of alternative social networks, leading to a decline of 80 percent by 2017. Should Facebook be worried?

Facebook video ads The social network curse: Facebook is doomed?

Facebook is bleeding users. While the social network has been increasing its uptake lately, and with its user base actually exceeding 1 billion people, the social network might soon peak and see a decline in active users. A top Facebook official has previously expressed concern about teenage users’ preference for newer social networks and communication channels like Snapchat.

While Facebook is confident it can retain its younger user base, statistics would suggest otherwise. For instance, Facebook actually saw a decline among younger users, including teenagers and young professionals.

Research from Princeton University has actually quantified the foreseen decline in Facebook usage, with a prediction that the social network will lose 80 percent of its users between 2015 to 2017. Interestingly, the researchers arrived at this theory by comparing the adoption and abandonment dynamic of Facebook to the dynamics that govern the spread of infectious diseases.

The researchers posit that ideas are like diseases, and are spread infectiously before dying out. “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.”

This idea is not all theoretical, as the researchers actually applied the same principle to MySpace, which grew in popularity from 2003 to 2008 peaking at about 76 million monthly active users, and then faded into obscurity by 2011, just as the likes of Facebook and Twitter were already gaining traction by the hundreds of millions.

As pointed out by The Telegraph, a Google Trends query on both Facebook and MySpace as a keyword would show that interest in Facebook may have already reached its peak in 2013, and might go on a decline moving forward.

If anything, one might find interest in social behavior in adoption and abandonment mimicking infectious disease. Does this mean that Facebook is a sickness?

Source: The Telegraph