Debunking the Princeton paper

A recent paper (PDF) by researchers at Princeton predicts that Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2015-2017. The prediction itself is based on Google data, which shows that search query data for “Facebook” is rapidly declining—just like what happened to search data for MySpace when it was on the decline.

Unfortunately, a decline in search queries does not necessarily mean a shrinking userbase. Facebook data scientists Mike Develin, Lada Adamic, and Sean Taylor debunked the findings in what is a rather hilarious blog post.

In keeping with the scientific principle “correlation equals causation,” our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely.

Ouch.