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Ouch! Facebook delivers an epic burn to Princeton University

Can we get the Princeton Burns Unit on the phone please?

EARLIER THIS WEEK researchers at Princeton University compared Facebook to an ‘infectious disease that will die out’.

Two doctoral candidates in mechanical and aerospace engineering claimed in a (non peer reviewed) paper that the social network is set for a massive fall, and that it will lose 80 per cent of its peak users between 2015 and 2017.

Well, Facebook isn’t taking it lying down, and set about doing a little research of its own.

Mike Develin, a data scientist at Facebook decided to “find out more about this Princeton University”, sarcastically referring to the “robust methodology featured in the paper” and stating that he would be employing those same methods himself.

So, what did he find?

“Our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely”


“Since 2009 the percentage of ‘Princeton’ papers in [academic] journals has dropped dramatically”


“This trend suggests that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all”


Develin goes on to say:

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.
P.S. 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.

Nicely done sir. Nicely done.

Read: Is Facebook an ‘infectious disease that will die out’?

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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