Facebook’s Top Ten Languages, and Who is Using Them

[Editor's Note: The following stats are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook's business and growth around the world. Click here to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]

As Facebook continues to grow around the world, and add the bulk of its new users in countries outside of the United States, users’ language may become an increasingly important factor for marketers and developers working within the ever-diversifying ecosystem. As part of our Inside Facebook Gold data membership service, we are now tracking language usage by total audience size, demographic splits within languages, and languages by country, and the data presented in this post is a sample of what’s available through the full data membership offering. Also as a part of IF Gold, we’ll be presenting updates and growth projections in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back to see where the language leaderboard is going in the months ahead!

To capture new market share in countries outside of the United States, how valuable is it to localization and culturalize? What’s the user acquisition potential if your brand or app does decide to localize?

We surveyed Facebook’s top 15 languages, looking at such stats as the absolute number of people using the site in those languages, and the basic demographic splits by language. Note that these numbers reflect how many people have pointed their Facebook language settings to a given language or variant within a broader language group. The table below presents a data excerpt on the site’s top 10 languages.

Facebook’s #1 language is English, with over 52% of the site’s total userbase accessing the site in that language.

In a distant second is Spanish, with a usage rate of around 15% of the total userbase. Note that this number includes totals for all Spanish variants.

After Spanish and its variants, the dropoff is much sharper. The next few languages in the list line up roughly with Facebook’s country rankings. Those are Turkish, French, and Indonesian, with each language accounting for around 5% of the total userbase. In the 7th spot is Italian, with 3.9% of the total userbase accessing the site in that language. Next is German, with around 2.7% of the total userbase.

After German comes Chinese and Portuguese. For Chinese, note that this figure includes both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, although it’s likely that the majority of these users are using the site in Traditional Chinese — which is used in Taiwan and Singapore, both of which are fairly saturated Facebook markets. [Correction: Traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, also a robust Facebook Market. Simplified Chinese is used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.]

Here is a look at the what percentage each of these top languages represents out oof the total Facebook audience.

What’s notable about these language stats is not that English is the dominant language of Facebook (that should be obvious), but rather that the next languages in line do not fall neatly in line with Facebook’s list of top countries by overall userbase. That indicates that users in some of the countries that are contributing significantly to Facebook’s “over 400 million” total usage figure are still using the site in English, despite the fact that Facebook is now fully localized in their languages.

As a last note, usage by language gets much more interesting when you start looking at the male / female splits by language, how many users in each of these languages fall into different age groups, and how many people are using the site in each of these languages across Facebook’s top countries.

The full breakdown of Facebook’s top 15 languages, including gender, age, and country splits by language, is only available through Inside Facebook Gold, our data membership service that also includes the monthly Global Monitor report on Facebook’s traffic growth around the world. To get access to the all the data we’re tracking, and to the specific growth projections we’ll soon be adding, please see Inside Facebook Gold at gold.insidenetwork.com/facebook.

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Leave a Reply

24 Responses to “Facebook’s Top Ten Languages, and Who is Using Them”

  1. Guest says:

    What about pirate, and british english?? aww..

  2. Leo Salazar says:

    I’m curious how user stats for Facebook Gold correlate to Facebook as a whole. Is there, for example, a relationship between the ratio of Facebook to Facebook Gold members and the relative disposable income (i.e. per capita GDP) of a country where any particular language is dominant?

    Even though I understand that it’s the relationship between the numbers and not the actual numbers themselves that is telling, I’m still curious if the ratio of FBGold/FB users in the US vs. say, Indonesia, would have influence on the total numbers of users in English vs. Bahasa Indonesian.

  3. Los idiomas de Facebook « El blog de Babelia Formación says:

    [...] el castellano es el segundo idioma más hablado en Twitter y hoy sale a la luz que también es el segundo más escrito en Facebook, a gran distancia del inglés, pero con una masa de usuarios bastante [...]

  4. Facebook: 10 millones de usuarios en España y castellano como segundo idioma mundial - Multi Platform Content says:

    [...] también se hacía mención del top ten de los idiomas más seguidos en Facebook, donde el castellano ocupa la segunda plaza con más de 60 millones de personas compartiendo [...]

  5. Facebook User says:

    @Leo, there is no such thing as Facebook Gold. I think you are confused by the reference to Inside Facebook Gold. This is basically the “gold” version of Inside Facebook (the blog you are reading now), and does not have anything to do with a different kind of Facebook membership, of which there exists only one.

  6. How To Use Translation To Boost Facebook Page And Application Engagement says:

    [...] is a truly international platform. As a matter of fact, about 48% of the total Facebook population has another language than English as their setting. This number is likely to increase over the coming months as there is [...]

  7. Guest says:

    Tes, FB gold is a scam and any groups/FAN pages(yes they still are FAN pages) should be reported as spam. Same goes for groups with the title “i will not pay to use FB in july”.

  8. Facebook’s Top 10 languages, le français en 3ème position des langues les plus utilisées | Jean-Marie Gall.com says:

    [...] Via insidefacebook.com [...]

  9. Tiz, Agence Web à Strasbourg says:

    Merci pour l’info ! Il manquait un peu de français dans tout ces commentaires ;)

  10. Facebook’s Latest Language Data, Country by Country says:

    [...] this week, we looked at Facebook’s top 10 languages globally, ranked by the total number of people using the site in each language. While English came in at [...]

  11. Facebook and Languages – globally and by country – Stephen's Lighthouse says:

    [...] Facebook’s Top Ten Languages, and Who is Using Them [...]

  12. OC says:

    Interesting article.

    It seems to me the values in the second chart are given in fractions (not percent), so they are off by two orders of magnitude.

  13. Bahasa Indonesia: Now Facebook’s 5th largest language - Thomas Crampton says:

    [...] Bahasa Indonesian is now the 5th largest language on Facebook. Tiny compared to English and Spanish, but the only Asia-Pacific country to make the top 10, according to Inside Facebook. [...]

  14. La revue du lundi par We Are Social #14 | we are social says:

    [...] tous les fronts Le site qui comptabilise désormais 540 millions de visiteurs uniques par mois, et près de 24 millions de francophones, n’en a pas fini de grignoter le web. Après avoir intégré Wikipedia à ses pages [...]

  15. Sjoerd Sea says:

    Hmmm, China is very small on Facebook. What are they using over their?

  16. Beyond Words Podcast: Episode 7 says:

    [...] All together now! South Africans urged to learn anthem New Net domains break language barriers Facebook’s Top Ten Languages, and Who is Using Them Italian Job: Resurrect the AP Exam Elementary Mandarin popular in Palo Alto An online archive is [...]

  17. Enzo says:

    “For Chinese, note that this figure includes both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, although it’s likely that the majority of these users are using the site in Traditional Chinese — which is used in Taiwan and Singapore, both of which are fairly saturated Facebook markets.”
    Actually Singapore uses Simplified Chinese, like Mainland China: Traditional characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

  18. Drew says:

    You should also try this new Chrome extenssion that will translate your feeds from Twitter and Facebook: Social Translate https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/giljlmclogpacbccpelmggfcjnickhhf

  19. Jakarta ~ a micro-mini silicon alley in the making? « IDEAS INSPIRING INNOVATION says:

    [...] eons ago! Within the last 6 months alone Jakarta has been anointed Tweeter Capital of Asia, and Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) is now the fastest growing language in Facebook, in 5th spot behind English, Spanish, French, and Turkish. From Silicon Valley to New [...]

  20. Jan Zweden says:

    hmm, would’ve expected much more from China and India. Think they will grow.

  21. RayhanIndonesian says:

    Yay to the indonesiam language and the other top nine languages!

  22. احصائيات مثيرة ل2011: العربية أكبر اللغات نموّا في الانترنت، الأولى في تويتر! | الراصد says:

    [...] المعلومات الاحصائية: الاول – الثاني  – الثالث – الرابع .auto-style1 { direction: rtl; [...]

  23. How To Use Translation To Boost Facebook Page And Application Engagement - AllFacebook says:

    [...] is a truly international platform. As a matter of fact, about 48% of the total Facebook population has another language than English as their setting. This number is likely to increase over the coming months as there is [...]

  24. Facebook: Where can I find statistics of the breakdown of Facebook Users by their chosen default language? - Quora says:

    [...] default language?Post    Anon User Check out this article from insidefacebook.com: http://www.insidefacebook.com/20…It's over two years old but it's the best I found. For other statistics checkout [...]

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