Facebook will lose 80% of users by 2017, say Princeton researchers


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There was a Princeton study in 2014 which compared Facebook to an infectious disease. According to the study, Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017. The prediction seems to have missed its mark. But, really?

In this paper we have applied a modified epidemiological model to describe the adoption and abandonment dynamics of user activity of online social networks. Using publicly available Google data for search query Myspace as a case study, we showed that the traditional SIR model for modeling disease dynamics provides a poor description of the data. A 75% decrease in SSE is achieved by modifying the traditional SIR model to incorporate infectious recovery dynamics, which is a better description of OSN dynamics. Having validated the irSIR model of OSN dynamics on Google data for search query Myspace, we then applied the model to the Google data for search query Facebook. Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.

The complete study

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I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.


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Everyone is now really looking into how much data these big companies have about you. You will be surprised, to say the least.

With a few clicks, I learned that about 500 advertisers — many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band — had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years, including my exes.

The complete article

Brian X. Chen — The New York Times

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A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying


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Another needull on Mark Zuckerberg’s potential run for presidency. I don’t necessarily agree with the article but important issues are to be discussed.

Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

The complete article

Jake Bittle – The Nation

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In praise of Facebook Instant Articles


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Everything seems to be moving to Facebook these days. Journalism, Business, Activism.

Two years since the product’s launch, Instant Articles has been criticized for underwhelming monetization, the absence of robust subscription options, an inability for publishers to directly connect to their readers, the limited amount of user data returned by Facebook, and the lack of autonomy provided to publishers over their ad space. One publishing executive described them as “a public flop.”

But the Daily News still sees potential in courting a mobile audience. This represents a considerable shift in strategy in the past few months. The Daily News has always posted a high volume of articles on Facebook compared to other publishers—typically almost 100 per day. But the paper barely used Instant Articles; the strategy was all about driving back to nydailynews.com.

The complete article

Pete Brown — CJR

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Citizen Zuckerberg


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Another interesting piece speculating Zuckerberg as a 2020 presidential candidate. Trump election has done one thing for sure – Anyone is game for becoming the POTUS. 4 years of campaign is more than enough. But, how will it be like to have the CEO as the POTUS.

Lest this sound like hyperbolic alarmism, consider how far CEOs have already come. For the CEO of Exxon Mobil to become Secretary of State was once unthinkable. Not anymore. And let’s be honest: being the CEO of Exxon Mobil gives one superb experience at negotiating U.S. interests (at least the Realpolitik ones) with foreign governments. Being CEO at a top investment bank, hedge fund, or private equity firm is now the primary pipeline to become treasury secretary. Is this perhaps because the two jobs are rather similar? As much as commerce secretary, the modern cabinet position reliably staffed by a CEO, is a joke, it has come to the point where every White House cabinet position, even the presidency itself, is directly staffable by a CEO. Let the cabinet and the presidency itself be filled by commerce secretaries; after all, the business of America is business.

The complete article

David V. Johnson — The Baffler

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Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?


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Has Facebook reached its peak with 2 billion people using it every month? If it has then there is only one way to go if Facebook does not deal with its problems and reinvent itself. Clickbaits, fake news, violent and suicide videos are being spread through Facebook’s news feed. How is Facebook trying to solve these issues?

If a human editor ran News Feed, she would look at the clickbait scourge and make simple, intuitive fixes: Turn down the Upworthy knob. But Facebook approaches the feed as an engineering project rather than an editorial one. When it makes alterations in the code that powers News Feed, it’s often only because it has found some clear signal in its data that users are demanding the change. In this sense, clickbait was a riddle. In surveys, people kept telling Facebook that they hated teasing headlines. But if that was true, why were they clicking on them? Was there something Facebook’s algorithm was missing, some signal that would show that despite the clicks, clickbait was really sickening users?

The complete article

Farhad Manjoo — The New York Times

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What’s the Value of a Like?


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Like is everywhere. It has become a tool of validation. This needull explores the value of a like. Does it really transform to more business?

But that study and others like it contain a fatal logical flaw: They confuse cause and consequence. It’s possible that getting people to follow a brand on social media makes them buy more. But it’s also possible that those who already have positive feelings toward a brand are more likely to follow it in the first place, and that’s why they spend more than nonfollowers. In 23 experiments conducted over the past four years and involving more than 18,000 people, we used an A/B testing method to explore a crucial counterfactual: what followers would have done had they not followed a brand. Given the millions of dollars in marketing budgets that flow to social media at many companies, the distinction is not trivial. It has enormous implications for marketers’ resource allocations and for how they manage their brands’ social media presence.

The complete article

Leslie K. John, Daniel Mochon, Oliver Emrich, Janet Schwartz — Harvard Business Review

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