PRINCETON, N.J. - Facebook could lose 80 percent of its users by 2017, according to a new study that patterns Facebook's popularity after a model for infectious diseases.
The model for infectious diseases works to predict trends for Facebook because like communicable diseases, social media platforms are spread through contact with friends, researchers at Princeton University said.
"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out and have been successfully described with epidemiological models," the researchers wrote.
Prolonged exposure to the social network has made it so people are becoming immune to the idea of Facebook, researchers said. The study claims Facebook has already reached its peak and is in the early stages of decline.
The social network will celebrate its 10th birthday in February. Facebook reported it had 1.19 billion active users in 2013, with 727 million people using it on a daily basis.
However, Facebook admitted they have seen a decrease in the number of teenagers who use the site while other services like Snapchat have been growing.
Researchers used Google Trends to find out how many times people searched for Facebook and map future trends. They applied the Susceptible Infected Recovered model to the data, which is typically used to predict how diseases spread and how long they will endure.
They also fit the model to MySpace, which they said peaked in 2008 at 75.9 million unique monthly visits before disappearing by 2011.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D139895%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E