ComScore: Facebook is conquering Europe

It's now the No. 1 social network in a majority of European countries, a year after the site started offering translated versions for international users.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Facebook has become the top social network in a majority of European countries for the first time, according to analytics firm ComScore's newly released figures for February.

That's most dramatically reflected in Spain, where Facebook's reach has grown tenfold over the course of only a year and is now in the No. 1 spot

In fact, ComScore said Wednesday, the only countries where Facebook isn't the No. 1 or No. 2 social network are Germany, where it ranks fourth; Russia, where it's seventh; and Portugal, where it's third. Facebook's biggest stronghold in Europe is still the U.K., where it has 22.7 million active users, followed by France with 13.7 million.

Facebook began offering translated versions of its site in January 2008, and that's when growth really began to speed up in many European countries. It didn't always catch on rapidly, as there were many existing regional social networks that already had significant reach in countries like Germany, where a site called StudiVZ is so popular and so similar to Facebook that rumors spread that Facebook had tried to buy it.

In Europe, use of Facebook now takes up 4.1 percent of total Internet browsing time, up from 1.1 percent a year ago.

Ironically, Facebook--which recently hit the 200 million member mark--is still not the top social network in the United States. News Corp.'s MySpace still holds that spot, though some say Facebook will pass it next year if it sustains current growth rates.