Facebook Engineer Mocks Princeton Study

Recently, Princeton published a controversial study claiming the imminent demise of Facebook. In response, Mike Devlin, a Princeton data scientist, wrote a scathing and sarcastic criticism of Princeton’s research methods.

Rather than address the Princeton study directly, Devlin applied the Princeton logic to Princeton’s own Google trends data (the data they used to predict facebook engagement), and predicted mockingly “Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all”. From here, Devlin’s satire only gets more creative.

Next, Devlin uses the same methodology for air. He writes “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:”. All of this is of course accompanied by supporting, and humorous graphs.

Finally, Devlin and his colleagues end their satire with a humbling lesson for Princeton. They wrote “P.S. 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”. There was also an unspoken message. Don’t f*$# with Facebook.

Read Devlin’s whole rebuke here, or read more on Facebook. And make sure to share this article on facebook as well.

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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