Mapped: Facebook’s Path To Social Network Domination (2008-2020)

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Facebook’s Path to Global Social Network Domination

From just a few thousand users in 2004 to 2.7 billion monthly active users (MAUs) in 2020, Facebook is by far the world’s largest social network.

But its massive global footprint didn’t grow overnight. While Facebook is the most popular social network in many countries, this traction didn’t happen overnight. And in other places, it still hasn’t quite taken off.

To see Facebook’s path to domination, we mapped each country’s most popular social network from 2008‒2020. The data was tabulated by Vincenzo Cosenza at Vincos.it by examining annual traffic data from Alexa and SimilarWeb.

Facebook Grows From the Americas to Southeast Asia

What famously started as Mark Zuckerberg’s late-night intoxicated project called Facemash—a “hot or not” type website for students at Harvard University—soon evolved into the world’s predominant social network.

Before 2008, the social network landscape was populated by social network pioneers such as Myspace and Hi5. Google’s Orkut was the most popular network in Brazil and India, and Friendster found a foothold in Southeast Asia.

But the Facebook wave came in earnest. By 2009, the social media giant took the title of most popular network for the bulk of the Americas, Europe, South Asia, and Oceania, with Orkut in Brazil being the sole holdout until 2011.

The story was similar in Africa, as increasing internet traffic data pointed to Facebook dominating the social network landscape across the continent (minus a temporary LinkedIn surge in 2017 for Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Cameroon).

By the beginning of 2020, Facebook was measured as the leading social network site in 151 out of 167 measured countries, or over 90%.

China and Russia Resist Facebook’s Pull

The social giant’s growth, however, didn’t come without resistance.

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Frank J. Williams 4 weeks ago Member's comment

Great read, thanks.