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Facebook Is a Plague That'll Burn Out In a Few Years, Says Study

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the world-market-is-for-maybe-5-computers dept.

Social Networks 338

Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook will bleed the majority of its users over the next three years, according to Princeton researchers John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, who arrived at that conclusion by comparing Facebook to an infectious disease. That's sort of logical: both Facebook and viruses depend on networks of human beings to "transmit" and grow; and just as people shake off viruses, they should (according to the theory, at least) eventually stop using Facebook. But how do a bunch of determined scientists actually trace Facebook's theoretical rise and fall? Cannarella and Spechler decided to use the frequency with which "Facebook" is typed into Google as their main dataset (various other studies have also relied on Google Trends as the basis for predictions). Those search queries reached a peak in December 2012. The researchers took that dataset and plugged it into prebuilt model for the spread of infectious disease (PDF), tweaked things a bit, and found that Facebook—like any plague that's burned through a significant portion of a population—will decline before the decade is out. Seem unlikely? To be fair, the researchers ran the term 'MySpace' through their model and found it traced that social network's rise and fall with some accuracy; but Facebook is much larger than MySpace at its peak, and woven much more pervasively throughout the fabric of the Web—thousands of Websites rely on the Network That Zuckerberg Built to connect with users, advertise, sell products, and much more. That prevalence alone should slow any Facebook decline. In addition, Facebook has begun releasing standalone apps such as Messenger, as part of a broader strategy to expand the company's branding and functionality beyond its core Website. Whether or not you like this theory that Facebook will 'burn out' has any validity, it's clear the social network is trying to mutate."

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338 comments

I'll be happy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049659)

..when it's finally gone /first

Re:I'll be happy (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 3 months ago | (#46050109)

Yay, no more facepalmers asking me to "like" them! Now to deal with all the twits out there...

Re:I'll be happy (5, Insightful)

Garridan (597129) | about 3 months ago | (#46050239)

Don't get your hopes up. I've got a different theory: people have stopped using google to find / research facebook. Those who use facebook use it more than they use the rest of the internet -- they don't need to find it, it's the first thing their browser opens. Those who don't use it already know what it is. No need to google it.

Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46049663)

If anything, Facebook will contract to an identity service provider used by web sites such as Answers.com and The Huffington Post to verify that each account is associated to one real person.

Re:Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049827)

Not only that, there are idiot sales and moronic marketing people who will still use "like it" on their web sites long after teenagers disband facebook.

Re:Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050221)

We need to get Likes on our product because Likes!

Re:Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#46050153)

If anything, Facebook will contract to an identity service provider used by web sites such as Answers.com and The Huffington Post to verify that each account is associated to one real person.

It might do that, but even teens are starting to realize that Facebook provides way too much information to be uses as an identity service provider.

Still THIS particular study seems a bit flaky, because it was done by looking for the frequency that "Facebook" appears in Google searches (which presumably includes simply entering "facebook.com" in the Chrome address bar, which some people still insist results in a search.)

With Facebook ALREADY being the home page of the addicted, and with a Facebook app on just about every mobile device, not many people have to search for Facebook, as it is already at their fingertips. According to Alexa statistics [alexa.com] , 99.28% of visitors arrive directly at the site, and only 7.7% arrived from Google. This just screams "Browser Home Page".

Decline in search results might not be indicative of decline in usage. (Unfortunately).

Re: Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050347)

I type 'fa' into the Chrome omnibox and press enter. Would this count twice?

Re:Login with Facebook to Post a Comment (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46050257)

Is there really anything that stops me from creating a few dozen Facebook identities? Yes, it's more work than inventing new usernames to spam a blog, but it doesn't seem all that difficult really.

any research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049665)

...looks good on paper

Re:any research (3, Insightful)

unrtst (777550) | about 3 months ago | (#46050039)

There's a glaring flaw, directly related to the old phrase, "There are 3 types of lies; Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics".
They're basing the trend on the frequency of the string "facebook" being typed into Google search.
In 2012, they saw the peak.
Guess what? People use smart phones A LOT more, and they use the various facebook apps, and when one wants a facebook app, they search the relevant app store (iTunes, Google Play, etc).

My money would bet that smart phone use covers the dip on the search trend, but even if it doesn't fully cover it, it's got to play a part, which would (almost certainly) tarnish their results (maybe it still will die, but it'll just take 3x's as long as they thought due to bad assumptions made about the google trend numbers).

It'll probably still die someday, for some loose definition of die (is geocities still around?)

Re:any research (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 months ago | (#46050225)

I can imagine there will be a drop in users, but the idea that it will go extinct in three years seems out to lunch to me. Beyond that, I'm not sure it's methodologically sound to say "MySpace went tits up, so will Facebook". Facebook has done a lot to try to increase the capabilities and services users can use, out of sheer necessity of keeping them on board. It strikes me that Facebook is trying to do the exact opposite of Myspace.

Re:any research (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 3 months ago | (#46050245)

What I see as the big flaw is comparing a plague...which has no positive features to its 'users' to something that does have positive features.

The spread may be similar to STD/STIs which obviously have a positive feature in their spread ;-), but unlike the plague Facebook doesn't kill it's users (could we add that?) so it's not going to go away in the same manner.

Unfortunately, More to Come (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049703)

Frienster > Myspace > Facebook > SpaceFace > [and so on] ...

Re:Unfortunately, More to Come (1)

Bradmont (513167) | about 3 months ago | (#46049981)

Unfortunately spaceface.com is already registered. Here I thought I had my one shot at making millions...

Re:Unfortunately, More to Come (1)

0dugo0 (735093) | about 3 months ago | (#46050291)

Of course there will be more to come.. maybe even a massive retro trend and we'll all have geocities style pages again, quit tweeting and filling out our .plan on panix instead and g-d forbid, cyber over IRC!

Re:Unfortunately, More to Come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050301)

Livejournal should probably be in that progression near the front...

Re:Unfortunately, More to Come (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 3 months ago | (#46050333)

Nothing new, just the web business model at work. Dot coms are like matches, they burn bright and die fast.

Friendface (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049711)

IT Crowd FTW:
http://youtu.be/6rNgCnY1lPg

Dupes are a plague that'll burn out in a few years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049717)

Wasn't this on the front page yesterday?

Is it a plague or more like the common cold? (5, Funny)

nani popoki (594111) | about 3 months ago | (#46049733)

On the other hand, Facebook might be more like a cold -- something that everybody dislikes but cannot entirely avoid.

Like LinedIN? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050275)

I went to a job fair recently.

I was told that they weren't taking resumes there, but asked if I had a LinkedIN profile.

When I expressed that I didn't because I don't like social networks, I was corrected. "LinkedIN isn't like Facebook where you get posts of cats."

And he explained that they did ALL recruiting from LinkedIN.

My head assploded wondering why THEY were at a job fair, but never the less, I created my LinkedIN profile - sweet as honey - with my Github projects. No bites. No one even looks at them even though they are listed on my profile and resume. So mush for FOSS helping with hiring! NOTE: Github shows interest in projects and there are NO - zero- nothing - records of folks looking at my FOSS projects. I mean, WTF do I have to do?"

That wasn't what I was thinking of because LinkedIN pimps out their data - EVERYTHING is sold.

I created a profile because I need a job and as a peon, I have to conform and do what I need to do.

Of course, all these companies are looking for "out of the box thinkers" and folks who "do not conform to group think".

AND, the few recruiters who do contact me ONLY look at my current experience. They NEVER look past experience - which is ALL development. And now that I'm not working again, nothing. As soon as my profile showed an end date for my current job - and no begin date for a new one - nothing.

Unemployed means unemployable.

ANY and EVERY employer who says that they can't find qualified people is full of shit. And I'm moving on.

Payback is a bitch boys.

One day, I WILL be in a position to outsource IT (development same shit) services, and when I need IT folks, just wait. Just wait assholes. Just wait. IBM, NCR, Oracle, intel, Microsoft, EDS, Keane, .....just wait. Payback is a bitch!

Excuse me MR. Overpriced IT services corp, why should I go through you - a Third World talent reseller - and NOT hire Wipro or some other company that is actually based in the country YOU exploit? Hmmmm?!

Fuck you! That's why!

Can you GUARANTEE your date? Like Oracle DIDN'T for Oregon's Health system?! NO?! FUCK YOU! That's why!

Cock suckers! All of them!

Different than myspace and others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049743)

I don't have a facebook account, hate the company, and I only rape their data. However, facebook seems different than myspace and the rest in the past. One being, I don't think it will just die- not even in 3 years. Facebook will turn into a 30 year and older demographic, which then the dumb retarded animal children of today will go to the next popular thing they are dick-sucking on.

So yeah, like it or not, facebook is here to stay, probably longer than 2017

Re:Different than myspace and others (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 months ago | (#46049889)

So yeah, like it or not, facebook is here to stay, probably longer than 2017

Myspace is still around too.
https://myspace.com/ [myspace.com]

Nobody really suggests facebook will be gone in 2017, merely that like myspace, nobody will care it still exists.

Fingers crossed.

Re:Different than myspace and others (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#46050107)

Nobody really suggests facebook will be gone in 2017, merely that like myspace, nobody will care it still exists.

... except pedos and the feds who love (to hunt) them.

Mom rule (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | about 3 months ago | (#46049747)

My 70 year old mother uses Facebook.

Once a technology reaches that level of integration into society, it, or at least the core product benefit, will be with us forever.

Re:Mom rule (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 months ago | (#46049797)

Yeah, I'm not buying that Facebook is going away. I think it's ripe for a coup, but it's too integrated into the way people think; much like googling is as reflexive and act as checking your email. That being said, FB's shameless privacy intrusions mean I've never stayed logged in, rarely use it, and only keep an account as a place holder should someone from the past try to look me up.

Re:Mom rule (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 months ago | (#46049977)

Devil's advocate here: Other than being the local "watering hole", what service or services does FB provide that nobody else does?

For authentication, MS and Google can provide that, or one can use OpenID. In fact, during the age of GINAs with XP, I had a machine that authenticated users using their Slashdot IDs.

For walls, cat pictures, random ramblings, and political statements, the Web has done that for decades. MySpace, G+, Blogger, Livejournal, Deadjournal, and many custom Web pages have this.

For online messaging, SMS, MMS, old fashioned E-mail, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, IRC, talk, and rwall have been around. Similar with offline messages and group chats.

Other than just pure momentum, I just don't see anything FB unique that can't be duplicated by G+ or someone else. Their backend software is pretty cool, but that isn't exactly something the users see or care about.

OpenID trustworthy? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46050201)

For authentication, MS and Google can provide that, or one can use OpenID.

Google already provides OpenID. But whether OpenID can replace Facebook authentication depends on whether a particular relying party trusts a particular OpenID provider not to grant distinct identifiers to sockpuppets of one real person. With a verified Facebook account, at least you can be sure that the identifier is connected to a cell phone subscription.

For online messaging, SMS, MMS, old fashioned E-mail, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, IRC, talk, and rwall have been around. Similar with offline messages and group chats.

I was under the impression that Facebook's spam filter had more teeth than e-mail or the popular IM systems because Facebook can apply stronger penalties against spammers. SMS/MMS costs real money per message.

Re:Mom rule (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049807)

Does your mother still use a phonograph? A butter churn? A bed warmer?

Re:Mom rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049879)

At the same time? I once caught my mother using what I thought was a butter churn in bed, and she kept muttering something about "so hot, so hot...", so I assumed there was a bed warmer in there, but then she later pulled me aside to talk about birds and bees and whatnot.

Re:Mom rule (3, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | about 3 months ago | (#46049885)

Still listens to music (CDs), eats butter, and yes, has an electric bed warmer. (Canada, it's cold here)

Re:Mom rule (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 3 months ago | (#46049897)

My 70 year old mother uses Facebook.

I will raise you with:
My 14 year old nephew recently closed his Facebook account after many years because "nothing is going on" there anymore. Possibly too many adults on Facebook now?

Re:Mom rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049993)

Agreed, Younger populations don't want to be on FB because their parents are on FB. They might be on it for contacts and events from those people, but it won't be their hangout place. It isn't cool to hangout near your folks.

Re:Mom rule (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#46050157)

My 14 year old nephew recently closed his Facebook account after many years because "nothing is going on" there anymore. Possibly too many adults on Facebook now?

Maybe.

Maybe he decided it's no fun since, now that he's over the age of 13, it's no longer illegal for him to register on websites without written consent of his parents, so he lost interest.

You probably think I'm kidding. Only slightly; only slightly.

AOL (5, Insightful)

CrAlt (3208) | about 3 months ago | (#46049911)

My grandparents had AOL.My parents had AOL. Everyone I knew had at least an AIM account. Where is AOL/AIM now?

Re:AOL (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 3 months ago | (#46050229)

My grandparents had AOL.My parents had AOL. Everyone I knew had at least an AIM account. Where is AOL/AIM now?

Withering away now quietly. Its effectively dead with its only remnant people who still have the 'You got mail!' wav file on their desktop.

Re:Mom rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049945)

My 70 year old mother uses Facebook.

Once a technology reaches that level of integration into society, it, or at least the core product benefit, will be with us forever.

Yeah, just like AOL, right? I remember the days when AOL keywords were ingrained into modern culture to that level, or when AOL's infamous busy signal problem crippled major parts of consumer internet communication...

Re:Mom rule (1)

hummassa (157160) | about 3 months ago | (#46050061)

AOL at its peak had a million users? five million? 0.1% of the world population? Compare to the 15% that FB has...

Re:Mom rule (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 3 months ago | (#46050209)

My 70 year old mother uses Facebook.

Once a technology reaches that level of integration into society, it, or at least the core product benefit, will be with us forever.

Not true. Horses and carts that they pulled existed for thousands of years but today you only see them with the amish. Only a technological items is surpassed, it beginned a long, sometimes quick sometimes slow descent into irrelevancy. Myspace is well on its way. Milkman have ceased as do Ice delivery. Facebook has just begun.

Re:Mom rule (1)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | about 3 months ago | (#46050243)

In some form maybe. But the young people will keep on using other services and just have facebook if they want to contact their parents/grandparents. Because you can`t really not accept a friend request from your parents or grandparents and once you do they can see all those lovely private updates from your friends about the last party and how you hooked up with that boy/girl or how you tried pot for the first time or...

Viruses Burn Out? (3, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 3 months ago | (#46049749)

Kind of like how the flu season peaked in February 2013, and now there will never be big flu outbreaks again.

Re:Viruses Burn Out? (1)

magsol (1406749) | about 3 months ago | (#46050163)

Hence the "mutation" aspect of disease spread, otherwise the infection would be one-and-done. Just like the flu.

Just a second there professor (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 3 months ago | (#46049751)

"Cannarella and Spechler decided to use the frequency with which "Facebook" is typed into Google as their main dataset"

This is probably too obvious of a hole to poke in a scientific work, but... How do they know that it doesn't mean that users are either a) giving up using Google or b) remembering where the fuck to find facebook.com? It would be interesting if they tried the same trick on GMail (a service that grew fast from word of mouth but is decidedly not in decline last i checked) and see what their prediction says.

Facebook declined; Gmail did not (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46049839)

So as I understand it, you want to use searches for Gmail to rule out other things that could have caused the 2013 decline in searches for Facebook. Google Trends: Gmail [google.com] happens not to show this sort of decline.

Re:Just a second there professor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049851)

I agree completely - a very bizarre metric. Who would need to type "facebook" into Google?

I mean, a good percentage of people aren't even accessing it with a browser. They tap the friendly little "f" icon on their phone.

Re:Just a second there professor (4, Insightful)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 3 months ago | (#46049961)

I never type facebook.com or search it. I click the app icon on my phone. Seems their number coincide very much with the popularity growth of smart phones.

These people should focus on other studies. This is a waste of time for anybody to read.

Re:Just a second there professor (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 3 months ago | (#46050091)

A big part of it is, I think, that people are now using Facebook apps on their phones and/or tablets. From the people I know, facebook seems to be somewhere between texting and email, in terms of significance of communication.

Facebook is a thing, 'facebook.com' is a site. We don't do web sites anymore, this is the 'mobile' era.

Their 'peak' nicely coincides with the first Christmas where people bought tablets and started supplanting their desktops with portable devices. With a lot of work places blocking sites like facebook outright due to it causing productivity issues, people are just using their personal/portable devices at work to do so...

Same (4, Funny)

The Cat (19816) | about 3 months ago | (#46049755)

Facebook is AOL without the CDs.

Re:Same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049859)

The best thing about AOL was those free CD's.

Re:Same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049907)

Are you kidding me? The free 3-1/2" disks were the best! Reformat 'em and use 'em as need be! It was the unlimited storage solution of the early 90s!

already dead to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049761)

I correlate Zuckerberg with Gates -- mildly talented and good at marketing but ultimately a douchebag with no real future vision. That type of personality, just like it did with Microsoft, becomes so entrenched in the company culture that once the stage-1 rocket burns its fuel, there's really no creativity or growth left and the company just stagnates, or relies on lock-ins/buyout to sustain itself, rather than innovation. Take away Facebook login, and what is left? That's why Google+ is now my social hub because it integrates with ALL of Google's product line, and actually has a future and a solid innovative company behind it.

Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#46049767)

Social networking, or rather doing so on a particular website, is a fad; it's no different than slap bracelets, Troll dolls, Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, etc., etc., etc.

Eventually, the unwashed masses will find some other new 'toy' to obsess over, and Facebook will turn into the morose, resigned version of Woody from Toy Story III*.

* I assume; to be honest, I never actually saw that one.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 3 months ago | (#46049923)

Remember cell phones, Islam, and the Republican party. Not everythig new is a fad.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050069)

That last one may be a bad example. Unless they lose their Christian-Taliban base, the GOP is a fad that's coming to an end outside the deep-south and other areas where education is poor.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#46050093)

Remember cell phones, Islam, and the Republican party. Not everythig new is a fad.

Except Facebook isn't "something new." It's a company that has capitalized on the recent phenomena of social networking (which is "something new," and will likely exist so long as near-instant global communications are still feasible). Just like the companies that capitalized on the popularity of pocket bikes back in about 2005. Pocket bikes still exist, but since they aren't experiencing the explosive growth they once did, you'll find there are a lot fewer companies making them today then back when they were hot.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050081)

I'd argue social networking itself isn't a fad. In general we're social creatures and always find ways to socialize with groups. However social networking in it's current form (and all past and future forms) is the fad. The fad is the website not the actual 'socializing'.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 3 months ago | (#46050113)

I doubt people are going to get over the whole "use the internet to communicate with friends" thing any time soon.

Re:Remember Slap Bracelets and Pocket Bikes? (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 3 months ago | (#46050263)

You should. After I did, my first thought was "Holy hell, how often is the third of a movie series better than both the original and the sequel?"

Dubious Analogy (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 3 months ago | (#46049779)

While I would not be disappointed if this were true, the whole thing seems to be predicated on a dubious analogy. What is playing the role of the immune system here? In the case of MySpace, Facebook seems to have played that role.

Re:Dubious Analogy (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 3 months ago | (#46050139)

That is what I was thinking. Facebook helped kill MySpace, it didn't just die on it's own. Plus, nobody can stay sick with a virus or bacteria forever. They either get over it or die. There is nothing that will force you to abandon Facebook after using it for a year or two. People who like it can use it for their whole lives if they want. I guess something like Herpes or maybe even HIV with the current drugs might be similar in a way.

They mention how businesses use Facebook to connect to their customers. In a way, Facebook will kill itself with it's desire to make some money. Didn't they start charging businesses to connect to their customers a while back. Why would a business stick with something when it ceases to be economical?

All things end (4, Insightful)

Monoman (8745) | about 3 months ago | (#46049789)

When the parents and grandparents start using it the "kids" tend to move elsewhere. Eventually the parents and grandparents follow. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Humanity is doomed to extinction (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049821)

I have done a Google Trends search for reproduction [google.com] , and as you can see, interest has been steadily declining. Based on my findings, I conclude that humanity is no longer interested in procreation. By extrapolating into the future, you can see that all humans will have died out around the year 2140. Mark your calendars accordingly.

The Death of Social Media (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049835)

cannot come soon enough. I do not have, nor will I have, any social media accounts. I absolutely refuse. Some day you will have difficulty in finding work without a LinkedIn or Facebook account. Bollocks. I've never had issue getting job interviews and it was never mentioned. No one cares, to be honest. If anything, a potential employer may look at a Facebook profile to see if the person is a complete wanker -- posting photos of public drunkenness and other sordid acts. Another thing that never came to fruition was the idea that employers and perhaps others considered one weird/awkward/dangerous/risky if they did NOT have a Facebook or other social media presence. Bollocks. Why should I give a monkey's toss what people think if I'm doing my best to lead a normal life.

Markets are maturing (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 months ago | (#46049845)

I am reminded how Microsoft managed to "mature" the WinTel PC market with a steady flow of bugs, upgrades, dropped support and other frustrations. After Windows XP, people were reluctant to move to anything new. And after Vista, people were down-right pissed off. Windows 7 is livable but Microsoft had to compete with tablets so they are forcing Windows 8.x on everyone and even the device makers are getting pretty bothered.

With all the comings and goings of social networking services, people are also beginning to figure it out. When was the last time you saw anyone with MySpace? Been a while right? And before that? Geocities? (Okay, may not fully qualify is social networking but was certainly a predecessor.) People are starting to wise up enough to see beyond the novelty of it all. Perhaps it's not happening fast enough for my tastes, but I see it happening.

Re:Markets are maturing (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 3 months ago | (#46049991)

I have a different view of facebook. It's a place where I can reconnect or even stay in contact with people I've met over the years. I think that after linkedin it's one of the best networking tools out there. For another product to come and replace this one it would have to be seamless from the user's point of view.

Smart Phone Access (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049853)

Interesting that the study doesn't mention too much about the access to Facebook via mobile/portable devices. Google search may be handy in determining trends but access methods have DRASTICALLY changed over the last few years since MySpace's rise/fall.

I don't think so, but... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 3 months ago | (#46049877)

As much as I do wish this would be the case, I don't think it's going to happen.
On the other hand, ten years ago I thought myspace would be around forever, and we all know how that turned out.

Only a trend? (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 3 months ago | (#46049891)

I'm glad to hear that vanity, gossip, and pursuit of social status are fads that will eventually go away like skinny jeans.

Facebook isn't all bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049899)

As much as I dislike facebook (I do not now nor have I ever had an account) I can see that it does provide benefits/convenience to others, directly -- by facilitating communication, and indirectly -- by offering a means of signing on without creating a throw-away email.

A peak or decline of facebook googling could have other causes such as people becoming familiar enough with it that it doesn't need to be searched for as they are familiar with its purpose and aren't terribly interested in the privacy concerns because they already know their information is just a commodity to Zuckerberg etc. Yet many people use it anyway. IANAS, but out of curiosity would there be better models for this? Viruses I always thought of as being purely disadvantageous but varying in severity. Are their other common models that would work well for something that is positive for some small group in a population but has an upper bound after which it becomes disadvantageous (sickle cell anemia gene comes to mind).

Except... (3)

bloggerhater (2439270) | about 3 months ago | (#46049905)

Except that the vast majority of Facebook's traffic never passes through Google...

Re:Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050233)

Except that the vast majority of Facebook's traffic never passes through Google...

No, but a majority of people do a Google search for "facebook" after loading up their computer to get to the Facebook login page. (A significant minority do a Bing search instead, because that's what their browser defaults to.) The average Internet user does not know what a "URL", a "domain", or a "bookmark" is, and think "dot com" is just a catchy way of saying "this is a thing you can go to on your computer."

If fewer people are searching for "facebook", then fewer people are going to Facebook.

Not a great study (5, Informative)

Maestro485 (1166937) | about 3 months ago | (#46049919)

This "study" is mostly bullshit. This article sums it up nicely:

http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]

Re:Not a great study (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 3 months ago | (#46050323)

This is the sort of study that gives science a bad name. I am beginning to suspect the reason the public doesn't accept scientific facts is that they are constantly exposed to headlines of the sensational (and unsubstantiated) conclusions of charlatans.

AOL or Compuserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049965)

Its just like any other social network, unless it keeps up with the times its usefulness will decline along with the changing needs of its users.

That will speed its decline (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 months ago | (#46049987)

thousands of Websites rely on the Network That Zuckerberg Built to connect with users, advertise, sell products, and much more.

I'm pretty sure that will speed its decline. What user wants Facebook to help give advertisements? I dare you to go ask random people on the street about that.

Hopefully sooner rather than later. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46049995)

I've been partially "blocked" since I refuse to click "I Understand" for Facebook's demanding me to agree with letting it show my real name on search results on the "desktop" version, and limited only to the "mobile" version. I say, die, Facebook.

This Just In (1)

Heshler (1191623) | about 3 months ago | (#46050011)

Assuming that Facebook is analogous to an infectious disease that will die out, Facebook will die out.

Wow! A deductive truth! They didn't even need to do the study!

Mobile Apps (1)

timestride (1660061) | about 3 months ago | (#46050089)

While I don't doubt that Facebook has already peaked and will experience some drop off, I don't think the method used here is as valid as in years past. The typical user will just type "Facebook" into the address bar of a computer and click on the first result that their search engine of choice returns. Or at least that is what they do when using a traditional computer. However, everything has been moving towards mobile apps. The only time you are going to search on your phone or tablet for Facebook is once in your app store. Even Facebook has admitted that this is the trend, so they have been pushing to monetize their mobile apps. Just a quick look at the Facebook App in the Google Play store and it says that it has been installed 500,000,000-1,000,000,000 times. One can assume the same thing for the iTunes store as well. That is a lot of people out there who aren't typing "Facebook" into a search engine that this study are not going to identify.

All about Zuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050101)

Zuck put $990m into his personal foundation this year and is on schedule to make a substantial additional tax free (deductible) transfer next year as well. Everything else is noise surrounding running a business he scammed from his roommate and will rise and fall with sentiment of users.

Minor difference (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 months ago | (#46050135)

Although applying the concept is interesting in theory, all trolling aside a foundational difference that makes this comparison nonsense is that *most* human's don't want the virus they contract whereas *most* Facebook users want to participate on Facebook until its usefulness expires. Facebook's usefulness has an indeterminate expiration that is subjective per individual (or group of like-minded individuals) whereas the virus is counter-useful. Now, if they were to apply disease patterns of a virus whose side effect were of varied usefulness to people, then we'd have a more productive comparison.

Facebook vs. MySpace (2, Interesting)

ffejie (779512) | about 3 months ago | (#46050171)

The summary alludes to this, but Facebook has done a much better job integrating into society than MySpace ever did at it's peak. At best, MySpace was a good place to go see about a new band. Facebook has built alliances (either officially, or just by use) with almost every major brand, and every company in the western world. This kind of branding will be held on to by corporations big and small, as they know it's a good way to reach users.

What we could see happen is that users abandon the service to connect to real people, and only use it to connect to brands, because the brands are demanding it. Over time (several more years) the brands will likely deprioritize their presence on the network, because people don't engage with them the way they used to. Go watch a commercial break on TV right now, I bet that one of the ads uses facebook.com/brandname as their website address. How insane is that? Snickers uses facebook.com/snickers instead of Snickers.com! Why would you do this? Facebook limits the opportunities that brands have to engage, and yet brands have played right into it, because the network is so powerful.

I do believe Facebook will live on as a way to authenticate and connect with other websites. It's a useful way to verify someone's real name, their social connections, and that they are a "good actor." See: many dating websites.

What makes messenger standalone? (1)

Brian (2887359) | about 3 months ago | (#46050185)

That would imply to me that it doesn't need facebook or a facebook account to run. Neither of those is true.

not so fast (3, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 months ago | (#46050187)

The assumption that Facebook will decline in the medium term is challenged by the examples of other networks which became pervasive enough that they became effectively perpetual (at least until disrupted by outside forces). The telephone network, the Interstate highway system, and the power grid have all held on and show no signs of going away (even as the telephone network merges with the internet). Oh yeah: and the internet.

As for the trend of a decline in googling for "facebook", that could just as easily reflect the fact that fewer people need to search for it. Either they've bookmarked it, it's their home page, their browser is smart enough to do URL completion, or it's perpetually at the top of their history, so they never hit Google on the way to it.

Don't get me wrong: Facebook will go away at some point, just like the phone system and Interstates will fade away before humanity does. But projections that it is already in decline (or trending toward that inflection point) may be premature.

Mutating viruses and invasive species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050199)

According to TFA, there are some flaws in the way the research was conducted (esp. using frequency in Google search), but if we go with the basic idea, then the model might be tightened by treating it as a virus that mutates quickly. This would probably be more appropriate, since FB puts a lot of effort into adapting their offerings (means of infection) to get and keep the most users.

A better model, IMHO, would be to treat the whole social networking arena as an ecology, and FB was the invasive species with respect to MySpace. Displacing the original apex predator changed the ecosystem, and FB is now the king of a fast-changing jungle.

Of course, it works even better because the common (and limited) food source is us, the common web user. And that's all we really are when you come down to it...

Social networks have a life cycle, like nightclubs (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#46050289)

Social networks have a life cycle. If they become cool, they grow. They grow too big, become uncool, the cool people leave, and they decline. Past top social networks include The Well, AOL, Geocities, and Myspace. Facebook's web traffic peaked in 2012.

A key problem for Facebook: they don't have a phone. Google has a phone OS, and uses it to lock users in and spy on them. Facebook doesn't have that power.

Click Bait Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46050297)

Betas are frequently told if the 'curve' of current phenomenon A matches the initial part of the curve of past phenomenon B, then A will follow the trend shown in B. This FALLACY, obviously total crap to anyone who understands anything about logic, seems 'logically' to the average sheeple, and thus can be used to win their support for some con or other.

Facebook has only one problem- itself. If Facebook chooses to use its success to screw its users, the users will eventually move on to the next 'big thing' on the Internet. However, if one looks at what Facebook users need and do, the ability to stay in good contact with family and friends is a GROWING trend, not a passing fad. Facebook will either respect the fundamental needs of its users, and continue a success, or treat its users as chumps who will stay loyal no matter how much Facebook betrays its original purpose, and fade away as so many other Internet services have done in the past.

NOTHING to do with 'predetermination'. NOTHING to do with trends in viral infections. A simple test of "form follows function", and the maintenance of truly useful function.

Or perhaps certain dumb dumbs here think Internet Search Engines will 'fade away' because the rise in their use followed the 'pattern' of a viral infection too?

NSA is here to stay (0)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 3 months ago | (#46050331)

You're already signed up. You don't need to press a "share" button for anything. There's no need to spend time wondering whether they're now sneakily holding on to info they shouldn't- the answer is just "yes". You don't get an annoying email every time someone you know gets heartburn. No dumb comments, no stupid advertising. There's no "friends list" to manage, no "unfriend this person" fights- they manage your friends list for you. Someone is always following you and finds you interesting. They're already synced with all your information from other sites. Their stuff works with your phone. New exciting data collection features are coming out all the time. You're already paying for it, so you might as well join, and in fact you did already. It's so easy to use.

is that summary actually accurate??? (2)

sribe (304414) | about 3 months ago | (#46050379)

Did they really assume that a drop in people searching for Facebook equates to a drop in people using Facebook? Why not just a drop in new users trying to find Facebook???

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