Facebook Triumphs in Latin America

By Dialogo
February 06, 2012

The social-networking giant Facebook continues to grow in Latin America and transform the social-networking panorama in the region.

Of Facebook’s more than 800 million users, 37.9 million are from Brazil, making it the fourth-ranking country in the world in terms of number of users and putting it at number one in terms of growth (11.3 percent), according to the statistics website socialbakers.com.

Of its total users, 32 million are from Mexico (5th place worldwide), 17 million from Argentina (12th place), and 9 million from Chile (22nd place), which also has the largest proportion of Facebook users relative to its population (54.79 percent) in all of Latin America, according to the same source.

The region has become fertile ground for social networks, since the internet is ever more accessible to Latin Americans.

Facebook quickly took advantage of this dynamism in Latin America, for which reason it was quick to call on its users to collaborate in translating the site into Spanish, and in 2008, it officially launched a version in the language of Cervantes.

In addition, it opened an office in São Paulo, and last year, it named the Brazilian Alexandre Hohagen vice president of sales for Latin America. Hohagen was previously Google’s managing director for the region.

Today, the company founded by the young U.S. entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg is the social network with the largest market share in Latin America (49 percent), followed by its rivals Windows Live Profile (37 percent), Orkut (25 percent), and Hi5 (13 percent), according to figures by the analytics firm Synthesio.

“Facebook’s impact is enormous” on the way business is done, said Pollyana Ferrari, a professor of digital journalism at the Pontiff Catholic University of São Paulo. “Coca-Cola’s commercial for this year’s Super Bowl was made especially for Facebook,” she emphasized. At the same time, “ever more users and consumers are using the network to express grievances, protest against social or political outrages,” she added.

In Latin America, Facebook’s “walls” have been the means for bringing together social movements, such as the student demonstrations in Chile in 2010 or the 2008 protests against Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attacks.