When Mark Zuckerberg first started Facebook in 2004 with four of his roommates, it’s hard to tell whether he knew he had started the newest trend in online social media networking or that he would become an internet giant of the 21st century. The website just celebrated their 10th anniversary and now has over one billion active online users. The statistics for the social media site are mind-blowing – over 680 million of these users who have integrated the Facebook app onto their phone, taking the website with them wherever they go. It’s hard to picture life without Facebook now, given that almost every major website now has the ability to share their articles on the website as well as having their own fan pages on the social networking site. Along with legitimate profiles, there are also over 81 million fake profiles floating around the social media site.
Is the website addictive? Perhaps. Facebook is the go-to place to bring together friends and family and organize events, and businesses use the page to advertise their services. Along with social media interaction, people are now using Facebook to document important events in their lives. Facebook also has the ability to draw people together, as the first port of call for organizing events such as parties, rallies, and even large social movements. The most notable event associated with Facebook took place in Egypt in 2011 as citizens used the social media site to come together to protest and revolt against the government in Tahrir Square. One man even named his newborn daughter “Facebook” (to much controversy) to honor the website.
People from all backgrounds and walks of life and from countries all over the world have joined the online community that is Facebook. Of course, circumstances and economics mean some countries are at a disadvantage when it comes to the infrastructure that allows citizens to join. The site is in fact officially censored or banned in several countries including China. The following are the top ten countries that use the social media site most, for everything from business to documenting their personal lives.
10. Germany – 25.2 Million
Facebook and Germany have had a rather tense relationship in the last few years. In 2011, a Hamburg teenager accidentally set an event she made for her 16th birthday party “public” instead of private and over 1600 people showed up to help with the celebration. The police were called and after a rather dramatic confrontation, many were arrested. There was property damage to the teen’s house as well as to the neighboring houses. Most recently, Germany has been fighting Facebook’s latest innovation of the facial recognition software, calling it an invasion of privacy as well as collecting data without the country’s consent.
9. France – 25.62 Million
Interestingly enough, even though France is at the number nine spot, for a period of time, it was illegal to even utter the word “Facebook” in the French media in efforts to stop clandestine advertising and to protect the French media against anglicisms. What French leadership failed to recognize is that websites like Facebook have become a part of everyday vocabulary to the point where it may sometimes be nearly impossible to not use the word. However, that didn’t stop users from continuing to use the website daily, and it has proven to be an effective advertising hub for the country.
8. Philippines – 30.2 Million
When the Philippines hit 30 million users, it became big time news. About 43% of the total users are male and the majority of users range between 18 and 24 years old. What’s probably helped the growth of Facebook in the Philippines is the website offering access to citizens free of charge without using data. The purpose is to give access for three months in efforts to push Asian citizens towards using the site; Facebook partnered with a mobile network provider called Globe Telecom to help offer this free incentive to the people.
7. Turkey – 32.56 Million
This number may not remain accurate for long since Facebook is among the names on a list of websites that might soon be shut off in the country of Turkey. So far, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked in the country thanks to the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is interesting to note that Facebook and social media sites in general have become such a significant part of a country’s social fabric that their use has the power to threaten those in political positions around the world. Rumor has it that citizens in Turkey have already started to lose their Facebook access in the last few weeks.
6. United Kingdom – 34 Million
With the United Kingdom being an English speaking country, we might expect that it would be higher on the list. However, the population of the UK is around 63 million so active Facebook users there represent over half of the entire population. The UK parliament even has a Facebook page! The largest demographic of UK citizens who use Facebook are women between the ages of 18 and 34 and it has been reported that many of them check Facebook every morning – even before going to the bathroom!
5. Mexico – 39.8 Million
Mexico is at the number five spot on the list, and the country is one of the first to initiate a government crackdown and surveillance on the social media site. The Mexican drug cartel has reportedly used Facebook and other social media venues like Twitter to arrange criminal acts such as kidnappings, drug exchanges, and hits through creatively veiled means such as posting poems or song lyrics. Mexican officials have also been getting irritated with citizens for using Facebook to publicize checkpoints for Breathalyzer testing. With almost 40 million of the country’s population active on the site, it seems a natural progression for the authorities to extend the purview to Facebook.
4. Indonesia – 48.8 Million
Despite being behind technologically with a low rate of internet use as well as slow speeds, Indonesia has grown to become one of biggest leaders in Facebook usage. The nation adapted rapidly to Facebook with a growth of over 645% in 2008. With over 13,000 islands it can be difficult here to connect with friends and family on other islands without moving long-term, so Facebook became the perfect platform for citizens to connect with loved ones – even if it does mean going to Internet cafes to make the connection happen.
3. India – 61.7 Million
It is predicted that by 2015, India will have the most Facebook users on the planet, and their usage continues to grow by 22 percent every six months. Which means that India will be bumping the current number one of the top spot – possibly by the end of 2014. In 2010, Facebook opened an office in the town of Hyderabad, which has turned into the high-tech center of India. How can we account for the surge of usage in Facebook? Several social media bloggers have observed that citizens of India use Facebook to create a network and connect – not only with people they know, but also with new people, for the purposes of expanding their social circle and making contacts.
2. Brazil – 65.6 Million
Even in the midst of the Amazon rainforest, in a country where processed food and running water is for many considered to be a luxury, Facebook exists. In fact, Brazil is giving the United States a run for their money for the title of the rising social media capital of the world. The time that Brazilians are using Facebook has also increased over 208 percent in the last few years. The country has the second highest population next to the United States, and with the middle class consistently growing there is increased internet access and more users on Facebook.
1. United States – 165 Million
The United States, the country of origin for Facebook, is the nation with the most Facebook users in the world. The top five states that use Facebook include (from most to least users) California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois – of course that’s unsurprising, given that these states include some of the largest cities in the country. Facebook found its growth and beginnings in the United States and there seems no doubt that the country’s citizens will continue to form the fabric of the social media site as long as it remains going strong.