Facebook dethrones MySpace as top social network

Strong international growth in the last year helped Facebook overtake MySpace as the world's most popular social networking website, according to industry figures.

Strong international growth in the last year helped Facebook overtake MySpace as the world's most popular social networking website, according to industry figures.

Facebook had more than 132 million unique visitors to the website in June 2008, an increase of 153 per cent over the previous June, when 52 million users visited the site, according to the latest figures from comScore Media Metrix published this week.

On the other hand, visitors to News Corp.-owned MySpace, long the leading social network, are relatively static, growing just three per cent from 114 million to 117 million in the last year.

Facebook overtook MySpace worldwide in April, comScore reported.

Social networking sites — where users post profiles of themselves and share information with other users — have grown in popularity as more and more users connect to them. ComScore said that trend has continued, with overall participation in social networks growing 25 per cent worldwide.

But Facebook's rise has been particularly quick: while it grew a modest 38 per cent in North America in the last year, it more than quadrupled its membership elsewhere; its unique visitors outside North America grew from about 16 million to 73 million.

"Facebook has done an exceptional job of leveraging its brand internationally during the past year," said Jack Flanagan, comScore executive vice-president, in a statement.

"By increasing the site’s relevance to local markets through local language interface translation, the site is now competing strongly or even capturing the lead in several markets where it had a relatively minor presence just a year ago."

Trailing the top two social networks were Hi5, Friendster, Google-owned Orkut, AOL-owned Bebo and the French-language Skyrock Network. Hi5 was a distant third with more than 56 million unique visitors worldwide in June 2008.