Facebook has hit back at Princeton researchers who claimed the social network would collapse like a 'disease' by 2017 with its own, hilarious extrapolation of their findings.
The Princeton study modelled Facebook's sudden growth and more recent, gradual declines in SEO traffic against the growth and death of various diseases.
Their method was open to obvious criticism, including ignoring Facebook's burgeoning mobile and app user base.
But the conclusion, that the site would lose 80% of its users by 2017 and collapse shortly thereafter, was too good for many publications (including HuffPost) to ignore.
And Facebook's response? Even better.
On its website Facebook researchers Mike Develin, Lada Adamic, and Sean Taylor said they had been "intrigued" by the Princeton study.
"Of particular interest was the innovative use of Google search data to predict engagement trends, instead of studying the actual engagement trends," it said, wryly.
"Using the same robust methodology featured in the paper, we attempted to find out more about this "Princeton University" - and you won't believe what we found!"
Specifically, Facebook found that mentions of "Princeton" had declined over time in both academic journals and Facebook itself. Extrapolating out to the point of absurdity, Facebook concluded that the university itself was in danger:
"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."
But it didn't stop there:
"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:"
"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."
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