Facebook will lose 80 per cent of its users by 2017, according to new research that used the spread of infectious diseases in humans as a model.
The swift demise of the social network has been predicted by researchers at Princeton University's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in a study titled 'Epidemiological modelling of online social network dynamics'.
What their findings suggest is that between 2015 and 2017, Facebook will suffer an aggressive decline in its user base in a similar way to that of MySpace.
"Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years," the researchers write.
However, for this to hold true it needs to rely on the assumption that the spread of an idea – such as the abandonment of a social network - works in a similar way to the spread of an infectious disease.
"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people, before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models," the study states.
It is not the first study to predict the downfall of Facebook. Most recently a recent study by researchers at University College London claimed that teens in the UK were "turning away in their droves" from Facebook.
The authors of the study argued that the widespread adoption of the social network by older users meant it was "dead and buried" among teenagers.
That study has since been discredited by a more indepth study by GlobalWebIndex, which claimed Facebook's fall in popularity was "greatly exaggerated".
The most recent study by the Princeton researchers has yet to be peer-reviewed.