“Facebook is very much a Western beast,” says Simon Rogers at The Guardian. China isn’t the only place that’s dark on the map; Russia, South America, and Africa are are all, for the most part, in the dark.
It’s true that users in Russia and China prefer their own home-grown social networks, as I pointed out yesterday, but the dark areas in South America match up pretty well with the Amazon basin—i.e., not too many people live there. In fact, a population density map explains why most of Russia is dark as well. Why hasn’t anyone wondered why Canada or the Australian Outback are so dark? C’mon.
Facebook friendships around the world. William Easterly points out that the black areas look a lot like the Iron Curtain of old.
This map shows social networks usage in the world. While Facebook reaches the most countries, you can see that Russia and China have their own home-grown networks, V Kontakte and QZone. The swath of darkness between Turkey and India is Iran, which developed its own networks after the government censored Orkut. And speaking of Orkut, it’s the most widely used network in Brazil, but Facebook comes in at no. 2 there (so says my friend in Brazil anyway), which would explain why the country’s population centers aren’t dark on the map.
This is the extent of the 2010 Pakistan floods, shown relative to the size of the US. It would pretty much cover the Eastern Seaboard.
We’ve probably all seen the BP oil spill superimposed over a local map by now. In a similar vein, the BBC has produced visualizations of other recent disasters, including Chernobyl and Bhopal. See how many of your neighbors would be affected if these disasters came to your hometown.