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Facebook to 'disappear' by 2020, says analyst

Could Facebook be headed for extinction? Despite its immense popularity, at least one analyst thinks the social network's end is in sight.

"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared", Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson said during an appearance on the CNBC show Squawk on the Street. "Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared".

So why, exactly, does Jackson think Facebook will follow in Yahoo's footsteps? He says Facebook will continue to lag on the new Internet frontier: mobile.

Facebook's February IPO filing revealed that the company had more than 425 million monthly active mobile users during December 2011, or about half of its worldwide user base. But while that number might be impressive, those users aren't making Facebook any money at this point.

Facebook has moved to address concerns that it isn't doing enough to satisfy mobile users, buying Instagram for $1 billion, and hiring the development team behind the Lightbox Android photo app. But Jackson thinks the social network's mobile woes will continue despite those moves.

"Facebook can buy a bunch of mobile companies, but [it is] still a big, fat website, and that's different from a mobile app", he said.

In Jackson's view, there are three generations of modern Internet companies. The first generation includes businesses like Google and Yahoo that organised and aggregated data on the Web. The second generation, led by Facebook, made the Web social. Now, the third generation is made up of companies focused on monetising mobile platforms.

"The world is moving faster, it's getting more competitive, not less", the analyst said. "I think those who are dominant in their prior generation are really going to have a hard time moving into this newer generation".

History proves that Web companies have difficulty translating success from one generation to another, Jackson said.

"Look at how Google has struggled moving into social, and I think Facebook is going to have the same kind of challenges moving into mobile", he said.