Facebook ‘will lose 80% of users by 2017’

Facebook ‘will lose 80% of users by 2017’

LONDON— The popularity of 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, researchers at Princeton University have said.

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LONDON— The popularity of 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, researchers at Princeton University have said.

The forecast of Facebook’s impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.

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

Mr John Cannarella and Mr Joshua Spechler from the US university’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department have based their prediction on the number of times Facebook is typed into Google as a search term.

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

“Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously among people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” claimed the authors.

“Ideas are spread through communicative contact among different people who share ideas with one another. Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest in the concept and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of ‘immunity’ to the idea,” they said.

Facebook reported close to 1.2 billion monthly active users last October and is due to update investors on its traffic numbers at the end of the month. While desktop traffic to its websites has indeed been falling, this is at least partly due to the fact that many people now access the network only via their mobile phones.

For their study, the researchers 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.

Purchased by Mr Rupert Murdoch’sNews Corp for US$580 million (S$743 million), Myspace signed a US$900 million deal with Google in 2006 to sell its advertising space and was at one point valued at US$12 billion. It was eventually sold by News Corp for only US$35 million.

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

But Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman admitted: “We did see a decrease in daily users (during the last three months), specifically among younger teens.” THE GUARDIAN


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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