Earlier this week, some Princeton doctoral students put together a study that said Facebook is going to lose 80% of their users between 2015 and 2017 [study]. The study was eventually dismissed, but it received a lot of press. Facebook obviously was not pleased with the study so they responded with a study of their own.
Facebook data scientist Mike Develin wrote a study called Debunking Princeton. In that study, he used the same methodology that the Princeton students used. “In keeping with the scientific principle ‘correlation equals causation,’ our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely,” stated Develin.
Princeton compared Facebook to a disease in their study. After people joined the website, they became infected. Once they quit the website, the people “recovered.” The Princeton researchers searched Google for the word Facebook and found that the world would be cured in a few years based on models that described how the disease was spread. The Facebook researchers looked at how often Princeton appeared in the Google Scholar results and predicted that Princeton would not have any students by 2012.
“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,” added Develin.
[Source: Huffington Post]