Last week Princeton researchers released a widely covered study saying Facebook would lose 80% of its users by 2015-2017. But now Facebook’s data scientists have turned the study’s silly “correlation equals causation” methodology of tracking Google search volume against it to show Princeton would lose all of its students by 2021.
A Facebook spokesperson says “the report that Princeton put out is utter nonsense.” Indeed, it’s flawed throughout.
First, it makes a strained epidemiological analogy comparing Facebook to a “disease” that users eventually “recover” from. Facebook may be a massive drain on our attention that some people get sick of, but that doesn’t mean it actually operates like a virus. The researchers then use Myspace as an example of how users recover from a social network and abandon it as if it happened naturally. They make no mention of how Myspace was in fact killed by Facebook.
But the critical…
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