Facebook’s data scientists have just replied to the Princeton’s paper that predicted 80% loss of users between 2015 and 2017 for the social network. Although the data scientists that replied to the scientific paper wanted to give a fun reply, they weren’t able to do it, given a lack of humour. Science is not always right and when you try to make a prediction with a new model, you can be wrong or you can be right. It’s true that the researchers used a strange criteria such as Google search data, instead of looking at the user engagement on the platform, but it’s also true that if you are running a $140B company, you shouldn’t even reply.
Great discoveries or predictions need to be proved and history is the only way to prove them. That’s why before saying anything about the research paper, we need to wait until 2017. What we can agree on is that there are several things they got wrong and the simple fact that MySpace went down at the same time Facebook was growing. However this is not an excuse to make fun of an University and two researchers whose aim is to try to understand the world and how people behave.
On the other hand, Facebook thought it was a “good” thing to reply in a “hilarious” way. Three Facebook’s data scientists (Mike Develin, Lada Adamic, and Sean Taylor), replied with a note posted on Mike Develin’s facebook profile. First, they have taken into account Princeton’s page likes compared to Harvard and Yale.
Second, they have looked at the number of papers being published by Princeton in the last years. The result has been that Princeton is going down with the number of publications.
Further they have looked at the enrolment rate.
Then they have plotted Google’s trends about Princeton.
In the end they have taken the same graph and looked at how the word “air” was trending. Their “result” was the following:
This trend suggests that 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.
The whole post wasn’t cool, even though they tried to make it and they added that they both love Princeton and air, which seems to go down too as a trend. However, if you are called Facebook, you should just ignore and look forward. It’s true that there is less engagement and that apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp are winning over Facebook.
The company should tell us why they offered $3B to Evan Spiegel in order to buy Snapchat and why they have changed Facebook Messenger, cheating on Whatsapp, to compete with this product. If you are really a great company, you innovate and you don’t care about what other people tell you, if it’s not feedback that can be helpful. Princeton made a prediction, no matter it’s right or not, Facebook, as a company, should have taken it into account.
They should also get out from Internet.org, the “no-profit” campaign and stop copying what Twitter has done in the past years, including the trends and the “follow” feature. There is a lot of talent at Facebook, which is one of the coolest company to work for, but it seems that sometimes they have simply lost their minds in stupid things and haven’t innovated.