The entire world is increasingly using Facebook

January 4, 2013

Back in 2009, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tweaked his famous social network's mission to read: "Making the world open and connected." Three years later, the world appears to have heard him loud and clear.

A new set of maps from social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza reveals the most popular social network in nearly every country around the world, and the map for December 2012 shows that Facebook now dominates 127 of the 137 countries tracked by Internet ranker Alexa, with over 1 billion monthly active users.

The growth mainly came from Asia, where the site has 278 million users, compared with Europe's 251 million, according to The Next Web. (Zuckerberg may hail from the States, but North America is actually ranked third in Facebook users, with 243 million).


There are very few countries left for Facebook to complete its mission, and those where it hasn't yet penetrated tend to have government controls in place. In Russia, a regional social network is most popular, and in China, Facebook is regularly blocked because users there have a history of using it as a platform for organizing protests.

In Iran, regional network Cloob rose to prominence after the Iranian government blocked Orkut, a once-popular social site now operated by Google. Cloob's title page promises that its content "conforms with Iranian law." (In spite of the blocks and censorship, however, a substantial number of Iranians still use Facebook).

Another map reveals that we’re down to just five top global social networks, compared with 17 social networks in June 2009, as you can see by this spread of Facebook blue across the planet over time:

Vincenzo Cosenza
Vincenzo Cosenza

The trends reveal just how effective Facebook has been at wooing international users away from their domestic sites -- although the task does get easier once the network reaches a critical mass of users within any one region.  

There are signs that the social networking giant is actively pursuing the remaining, Facebook-free outposts. In October, Zuckerberg met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and said he has attempted to persuade developers there to build more platforms on Facebook.

Facebook has also tried to court Chinese consumers, but the Great Firewall may be too high a hurdle.

When Zuckerberg wed his Chinese American girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, last spring, a popular joke began to make the rounds on weibo, China's version of Twitter, according to Fortune: 

Chan brings Zuck to meet her extended family in Shanghai. "What do you do?" they ask him.

"I run the most popular website in the world," he responds. So they plug "Facebook" into a browser, and nothing pops up.

 "You're a fraud! This Facebook doesn't exist!" they reply.

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Max Fisher · January 4, 2013