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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

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Facebook pokes fun at study saying it will lose 80% users by 2015-17
PTI
Washington, January 24, 2014
First Published: 20:42 IST(24/1/2014)
Last Updated: 20:50 IST(24/1/2014)

Facebook has debunked the recent study by the Princeton University that the social networking website would lose 80% of its users by 2015-2017.



Facebook's data scientists have used the Princeton study's "correlation equals causation" methodology of tracking Google search volume to show the university would lose all of its students by 2021.

"Our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely," Facebook Data Scientist Mike Develin posted on the website.

The Princeton study made a strained epidemiological analogy comparing Facebook to a "disease" that users eventually "recover" from.

The critical error in the non-peer-reviewed study is stating that since the volume of searches for "Facebook" began declining in 2012, it must mean there's an ongoing decline in Facebook usage, according to a report in Techcrunch.com.

Since 2012 Facebook has kept growing to its current 1.19 billion users, and it has never had an overall decline in user count, the report said.

"The report that Princeton put out is utter nonsense," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

"While we are concerned for Princeton University, we are even more concerned about the fate of the planet, Google Trends for "air" have also been declining steadily, and our projections show that by the year 2060 there will be no air left," Develin said.

"We don't really think Princeton or the world's air supply is going anywhere soon. We love Princeton (and air). As data scientists, we wanted to give a fun reminder that not all research is created equal - and some methods of analysis lead to pretty crazy conclusions," said Develin.


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