Geopolitics of Facebook

15 12 2010


Facebook Friendships Plotted on a Map of the World

Check out this cool map that shows Facebook Friendships. Each white dot represents a certain number of Friends. The white lines represent friendships.

I have a few observations.

First, Facebook is still predominantly a Western club. Europe and the Americas are lit up like Christmas trees. Africa has few members outside of South Africa, largely because it is extremely poor.  Facebook has few members in China, not because the Chinese can’t afford computers but because Facebook is basically illegal there because the regime thinks it is politically subversive. In contrast, there are a fair number of Facebookers in India.

Second, alphabets appears to matter as well. Japan has a moderate number of Facebook accounts, but the density of members there is surprisingly low given the fact that Japan has the highest density of broadband in the world (and really fast broadband at that).  Japan has its own social networking sites that are geared to its language/alphabet.

Third, I was struck by a vast number of FB users in Indonesia. I suspect that FB has done well in this country because the official language there is based on the Roman alphabet.

Fourth, I would be interested to see a similar map for Canada. It would be interesting to see how the country’s internal language frontier influences the pattern of “friendships”.





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