Facebook Scientist 'Debunks' Princeton Study About User Drop | Adweek Facebook Scientist 'Debunks' Princeton Study About User Drop | Adweek
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Facebook Study Finds That Princeton Is the One on Brink of Extinction

Data scientists 'debunk' school's bad science

Princeton University | Photo: Getty Images

A new study shows that Facebook isn’t in danger of extinction. But maybe Princeton is.

A Facebook data scientist released his own analysis today to poke at a recent study out of Princeton that predicted the social network would lose 80 percent of its users by 2017.

The Princeton study has spread in a large portion of the consumer press, which has essentially taken the research at face value, even though it struggles to stand up to basic scrutiny. The Princeton researchers studied how popular Facebook is in Google searches and noted that it was trending downward. That observation—noting a decline in people searching Facebook—led to the conclusion that it would lose almost all its users within three years.

Facebook’s data scientist decided to have a little fun with the analysis and turn it back on Princeton. Facebook’s data scientist found that Princeton has dropped in popularity according to its own stats based on Likes.

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

Facebook also used Google trends to track Princeton’s viability. Here’s what it found:

“Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, which could also factor into the current feud.

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