Facebook language increase from May 2010 to November 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An article here in Portuguese is happy about Portuguese having increased the most of the top ten languages on Facebook over the past year and a half. Apparently this is almost entirely a result of Brazil suddenly signing up en masse. The numbers given are:

May 2010 -- November 2012

English: 213.2 million -- 359.8 million
Spanish: 61.2 million -- 142.8 million
Portuguese: 6.1 million -- 58.5 million
French: 23.5 million -- 44.3 million
Indonesian: 20.4 million -- 43.8 million
Turkish: 21.9 million -- 31.7 million
German: 11.2 million -- 30.7 million
Italian: 16.2 million -- 23.8 million
Arabic: 3.4 million -- 20.1 million
Chinese: 9.6 million -- 20.1 million

So Portuguese has gone from barely making the top ten to making third place.

What is nice about these numbers is that they show the number of people that have chosen a certain language on Facebook as their interface language, much more accurate than other internet stats where the population of a country is assumed to only use language A or B. But because this is the internet where English is often the default, the English numbers aren't as telling as those for the other languages. It is very likely, for example, that many German and probably a good number of Spanish users have simply opted for an English interface.

Now let's look at these numbers as a graph:

And finally let's graph them again without English because of 1) the reasons given above, and 2) the fact that English messes up the scale a bit. The non-English top nine languages look like this.


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