Waiting for Facebook to reach 1 billion users is just about as interesting as watching someone else play a video game or reading someone’s Facebook status about someone playing a game. It does absolutely nothing for me.
While the aggregate number of Facebook users seem substantial, it’s actually the component numbers in the tally that makes for an interesting browse.
Yesterday, while skimming through dozens of pages on Facebook user statistics, I came across Social Bakers list of countries on Facebook and started looking at movements in Facebook user stats over different periods of time. Now, before I go further, let me say that I do not know how accurate Social Bakers stats are and I was merely looking for interesting upward or downward movements.
First, looking at growth in Facebook users by country over a period of six months, it is surprising to note a couple of things.
Just looking at the top 20 countries on the list, the Democratic Republic of Congo posted a 682 percent increase in Facebook users over a six month period. The Facebook population in this Central African state grew by 588,560 users.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, it has a population of nearly 71 million and is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world. It’s economy is largely dependent on mining being the world’s largest producer of cobalt and a major producer of copper and diamonds.
However, the biggest growth in terms of the actual number of new users was registered by Brazil with 11,791,040 new users representing a 133 percent growth. This was closely followed by India with 11,437,420 new users representing a 66 percent growth and a far third is Mexico with 7,969,340 new users representing a 43 percent growth.
Indonesia with 6,733,960 new users trumped the Philippines with 5,790,800 new users. Facebook in Germany grew by 5,248,740 users, Turkey added 4,917,080 users, the United States grew by 3,511.520, Egypt grew by 3,148,680 users, and Argentina by 3,102,700.
In terms of penetration rate or the number of Facebook users vis-a-vis a country’s population, the Principality of Monaco trumps 212 other countries with a penetration rate of 94.88 percent with about 29,020 users. The number of Facebook users in Monaco actually shot up by 55.85 percent or by a total of 10,400 users.
Countries with less than a thousand Facebook users are American Samoa, 860; Aland Islands, 320; Naur0, 260; and the Vatican City with just 20 users.
China, which has a population of about 1.2 Billion people only has 519,900 Facebook users. As one might probably figure, the Chinese government’s heavy internet censorship probably has a lot to do with Facebook’s low penetration rate.
Perhaps, the only other country that can trump China in terms of restricting internet use is North Korea.
This country is almost completely isolated from the rest of the world. While they do have telephones, they do not have a broadband data network. Satellite Internet coverage is available with speeds up to 492 kbit/s and upload speeds of 400 kbits.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.