With more than 645 million members to date, Facebook is by far and away the world’s leading social network. As is often said, were it a country, Facebook would be the world’s third largest behind only billion-plus states China and India.
If Facebook were a country, Jakarta would be its capital according to new data from Socialbakers, which puts the Indonesian capital at the top of its global Facebook cities list with close to 17.5 million members – almost double that of second ranked Istanbul.
Other Southeast Asian capital cities feature highly on the list with Bangkok, Thailand, in fifth (with 7.4 million) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ranked eighth (with 6.5 million). Further down the list sees Singapore ranked 25th (with 2,295,420 members) a number of Indian cities: Mumbai (18th), Delhi (36th), Bangalore (38th), Chennai (49th) and Hyderabad (50th) amongst the most notable.
Aside from Asia, Turkey is noteworthy for having two cities listed in the top ten while a number of South American cities feature highly on the list, including Buenos Aires, Bogota, Caracas, Santiago and Rio de Janeiro.
The chart – which can be found here – is below:
As might be expected there are no representatives from China – where Facebook is blocked – or Japan or Korea where local networks dominate the domestic social scene.
A big question around the dataset concerns The Philippines. Given the country’s position as the fifth biggest Facebook market with more than 22.6 members, a sizeable chunk of Manilla’s 16,300,000 population to have signed up and thus feature on the list – yet the Philippines has no representation.
In addition to the absentees there are other issues with the data.
The statistics are taken directly from Facebook whose city data is reliant on users declaring their location, which cannot be guaranteed. Many Facebook users are cautious over the information that they declare and display on Facebook and opt to leave their location unset.
Additionally there is no guarantee of accuracy or authenticity as some users may mis-registered their location. For example, those living on the fringes of Bangkok in Thailand, may register themselves as being based in Bangkok even if they are not technically living in the city.
Though the statistics cannot be verified, a number of conclusions can still be drawn.
Capital cities dominate developing markets
In newer markets – like Asia and South America too – where Facebook is still gaining traction with the mainstream, the bulk of domestic members cluster around capital cities.
For example 7.5 million of Thailand’s total of 8.4 million members are based in Bangkok where infrastructure, the cost of PCs and hardware and lack of knowledge are the primary reasons why Facebook has a lower uptake in up-country areas.
Additionally, the nature of populations clustering around capital cities in Asia versus the greater spread of members in western markets means that though a number of US cities feature on the list, none are placed in the top 10.
The Southeast leads the way in Asia
Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – alongside Singapore, The Philippines and Vietnam – are leading the development of Facebook in Asia.
In these market – unlike other more eastern Asian markets – western-based social networks like Facebook and Twitter dominate the local scene thanks to an absence of strong domestic players, unlike Japan, China and Korea, and the use of languages – Thailand aside – which use a Romanic script which work easily with the default character setting on Facebook. However Facebook is addressing other languages with its translated service.
Indonesia leads the way again
Already Indonesia is recognised as a major player in Twitter terms, Indonesia is the world’s second largest Facebook market with this latest data another proof point of its fast developing, highly influential digital landscape.
For more information on Indonesia’s social media landscape see this recent post here.