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The Facebook-less Africa: Where Electronic Social Networks Don’t Reach

By Wayan Vota on November 16, 2011

You know the amazing photograph of the earth at night showing all the lights of population centers around the world. And you’ve seen the Facebook friendship map that shows where the concentrations of Facebook users are around the globe.

Ian Wojtowicz mashed those two images together to get The UnFacebook World. The dark lines are Facebook usage and the bight yellow dots are where there are population centers that have bright lights at night but no Facebook friends.

Do you notice anything odd about Africa? How about that São Tomé and Príncipe have electricity but no Facebook and the millions in Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC have neither Facebook nor electrical lights at night.

This is a stark visual reminder that not everyone one is on FB, regardless of the hype around Facebook usage doubling in a month across Africa in 2011.


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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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3 Comments to “The Facebook-less Africa: Where Electronic Social Networks Don’t Reach”

  1. Eliot Masters says:

    Sorry, but this is bunk. Nairobi and Kampala (for a very small start) are huge on FB – but there’s not a flicker there, according to the image.

  2. Wayan Vota says:


    The map clearly shows the high concentration of FB in Nairobi & Kampala – those are the dark streaks in East Africa. The yellow is where there is electricity and NOT facebook.

  3. John Hawker says:

    These images of light at night are NOT internet use and NOT western social media tools.

    While it has a link to internet use, there are also African Social Media platforms, especially in Nigeria, and these should be encouraged I hope.

    Many places in Africa use electricity in the day for a few hours, mobiles (which many know I dislike as an internet tool but I can’t fight them or ignore them) are used as social media access points.

    This isn’t a honest report at all.

    Just because Face book doesn’t exist doesn’t mean Social Media doesn’t Exist.

    Can we see a map of China perhaps and draw the same conclusions?