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Where Facebook's half a billion users reside

Facebook announced this morning that they now reach 500 million active users (just five and half years after launching). But where do these half a billion users reside? Refreshing my post from February, the share of users from Asia continues to rise and now stands at 17% of all Facebook users1.

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Africa is the other fast-growth region and I’m expecting the region’s share of active Facebook users to rise sharply over the next year. In terms of market potential, the number of active users in Asia is 2.3% of the population (1% in Africa) so the company still has lots of growth potential in the region:

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The share of users age 18-25 remains higher in regions outside the U.S., especially in Asia, the Middle East / North Africa, Africa, and South America. 14% of users in the U.S. are 55 or older, the corresponding figure in Asia is 2% (in Europe and Africa it’s 6%, in the M. East/N. Africa it’s 3%, in South America it’s 4% ). [For recent growth rates by age group, click HERE.]

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Over the past 12 weeks, Facebook added over a million active users in fourteen countries, including 5 in Asia and all three members of NAFTA:

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I close with a list of countries where Facebook is growing the fastest2:

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Update (7/22/2010): Here are some interactive heat maps generated via OpenHeatMap. First, the number of active Facebook users:

Second, the rate-of-change in number of active Facebook users over the last 12 weeks:


(1) Data for this post is through the week ending 7/18/2010 and covers the 180+ countries where Facebook has a presence.

(2) Rate-of-change: Measures percentage change in # of active users over the last 12 weeks.

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  • Brian Ahier

    Africa will certainly continue to be a growing segment. I was chatting on Facebook with a friend from Kenya and he said that wireless Internet access and cell phone coverage is generally more available than electricity. Keeping your devices charged seems to be more of an issue than access, especially in remote villages…

  • Andrew Fielden

    Whilst there may be 500 million active users this does not mean 500 million different people. I know many people, myself included, who have multiple accounts depending upon the information and groups that I am sharing with. As a result it is more than a little presumptive to claim percentages of population based on the raw Facebook account numbers.

    It is however very interesting to see the sort of take up figures throughout the world….

  • Foxinni

    That is so much fun to read through.

    Even thought most of the stats are predictable, it’s the ones that are not that really makes you think.

    Lovely data,
    Cheers

  • paul mooney

    There are millions of fictitious persona’s on Facebook, last week one was even recommended to me by Facebook

  • David Sutula

    To Andrew’s point, while there are many, many people who maintain more than one profile, this is prohibited by the facebook terms of use and my gut tells me that in terms of percentages, this number is actually quite small. What isn’t clear is if they are counting business pages as users (where a business has to update their page through a personal account).

  • @joehobot

    I don’t think FB is anywhere near 500K users, sure 20% of them are probably accounts that have not been used, 10% of them are spam accounts :)

    So if FB goes with that paste of users registration, by 2020 whole world will use Facebook? I don’t think so!

  • CAG

    There’s no doubting Facebook’s huge global traction and commerical importance. There’s also no doubting Facebook’s rich experience that’s extremely useful and free for its users. But what’s strange is that no one has bothered to create a social network that does all this but is rooted in Mutuality. Webster’s defines mutuality as “the reciprocity of consideration”. So imagine 500 million active users worldwide who mutually own their social network. Just imagine the global impact of that network.

  • Michalis P.

    May I ask how you got your hands on this data?
    (and how precise it is)

    Thanks,
    Michalis

  • Gilbert Patrick

    They’re not doin so hot in places like Greenland and Antarctica. There’s still a market out there for you entrepreneurs!

  • The Anti-Marketeer

    @Gilbert Patrick

    Love how marketeers are convinced that Facebook users represent a market that can be tapped. And that to try and tap that market is somehow entrepreneurial.

    Like Bill Hicks said, if you work in advertising or marketing, kill yourself.

    Seriously.

  • Alphonse Ha

    When you claim that:

    “In terms of market potential, the number of active users in Asia is 2.3% of the population (1% in Africa) so the company still has lots of growth potential in the region”

    Are you speaking of the population or the online population of the respecting continents?

    Also, What is North America? Canada, US, Mexico? Or Canada or Canada and Mexico minus US?

    It is a little confusing since you have stats for US and North America.

    Would you happen to have stats for Canada?

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Alphonse:
      1. Are you speaking of the population or the online population of the respecting continents?
      >> I’m referring to the population (not online population), so the market potential is somewhat inflated.

      2. What is North America? Canada, US, Mexico? Or Canada or Canada and Mexico minus US? It is a little confusing since you have stats for US and North America.
      >> North America = Canada, US, Mexico ; I also separate the US since Facebook started there, and most people see the US as a benchmark.

      Ben

  • Alex Tolley

    Ben, can you redo the numbers to show a scattershot chart of facebook growth vs internet penetration or internet penetration growth?

    The slow growth in well connect countries might well indicate where we can expect saturation and at what level.

  • Barbera van den Berg

    Hi Ben,

    great data, it’s interesting that the use of Facebook is growing in Africa.

    Could you explain the two maps? What does 1.00 adoption mean for example. If the numbers are percentages (of the total population) it is interesting that 8% of inhabitants of Nigeria are active Facebookusers.

  • http://shebamuturi.wordpress.com/ Sheba Muturi

    Thank you for the fascinating data on Africa. I grew up in Kenya and I am mesmerized by how many of my high school and university peers have found me on FaceBook. I was in Nairobi about two years ago and it struck me that at all the internet cafes I went to, virtually all the younger folks were on FaceBook. I am interested in technology for development and FB is a strong contender as a platform for mobilizing social change.