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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 17, 2009

New Facebook data illustrates the socnet's ethnic diversity

The data team at Facebook has released some interesting stats on the racial make-up of the social network's audience which show the user-base has become increasingly diverse since its early days.

by Helen Leggatt

Because Facebook doesn't ask users to share their ethnicity, pinning down numbers must have been difficult. However, according to Facebook's blog, by focusing on the U.S. user-base and using U.S. Census Bureau data and comparing it to people's surnames on Facebook, they were able to make a reasonable estimation.

The study found that around 11% of Facebook's 100 million U.S. users were African-American, 9% Latino and 6% Asian. This, they say, shows that the social network's ethnic make-up is now reflecting that of the U.S.'s general population.

But what's the purpose of this data analysis? According to the Facebook blog, "We hope to use predictions of race and ethnicity for individuals, along with their friend connections, to understand how these populations of users are connected to each other. We are working to understand how diversity of interpersonal relationships is changing over time as more users join the site and find their friends."

Tags: demographics, ethnicity, Facebook, social networking

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