In the five years since it launched, Facebook has seen a marked increase in the number of African-American and Latino U.S. members — nearly to the point where the diversity of the social network reflects that of the U.S., according to a study conducted by Facebook.
“Illustrating the growing diversity of online users as the Internet matures, a study by Facebook researchers found that about 11 percent of the social network's approximately 100 million U.S. members were African-American, about 9 percent were Latino and 6 percent were Asian … a much higher share for blacks and Latinos than four years ago,” San Jose Mercury News reporter Mike Swift wrote.
Facebook posted the results of this study to a blog Wednesday evening, Swift said. (The story doesn’t link to the blog, nor could I find it.)
According to the Mercury News, Facebook members were mostly white and Asian when it launched in 2004 among students at Stanford and Harvard. Only about 3 percent were Latino and 7 percent were black by late 2005, Swift reported.
“But starting in mid-2007, the share of Facebook users who are Latino began to grow rapidly, as they gained numbers even faster than the social network's overall growth,” Swift said. “And in 2009, the share of African-American members in particular has grown rapidly, with both groups on Facebook now approaching estimates for their share of overall Internet users.”
The African-American population of Facebook has nearly reached the 12 percent that makes up the overall U.S. population. Latino membership still lags far behind the 15 percent of U.S. population.
You can read more about the study — including how and why Facebook conducted it — at the San Jose Mercury News.