How many South Africans are there on FaceBook?

UPDATE (April 2011): I'm seeing some Google traffic coming through on this link - which is unfortunatey considering it's a 2009 blog post! Here are the quick facts for you as of April 2011 according to FaceBook's Ad Demographics tool (please remember these numbers change QUICKLY). Anyone can check them by going to FaceBook and clicking Create Ad (you'll find the link above the actual on page ads). Here we go:

FACEBOOK USERS in South Africa: 3 840 380
MALE FACEBOOK USERS in South Africa: 1 823 100
FEMALE FACEBOOK USERS in South Africa: 1 920 220

Hope that helps!


Interesting stats from CheckFaceBook.

This graph, looking suspiciously like Google Analytics, says there are 1.7 million South Africans on FaceBook. That's pretty damn impressive, considering the latest estimates of our broadband population that I've seen is only in the low 2 millions.

FaceBooks advertising segmentation tool reports similar. Also notice that they've changed the NETWORK demographic to LOCATION. Previously, I think they only counted you if you joined the SA network. Now, perhaps geo-targetting IP's is the way forward...

I remember giving a presentation no more than 3 months ago, and looking at stats showing 1.2 million South African's on the social networking site. That's some crazy growth in a country that is so bereft of bandwidth.

Could this be mobile numbers starting to count? FaceBook is pretty accessible on a WAP-enabled phone.

Exciting stuff for the digital industry.


  1. Hey Andy. According to researcher Arthur Goldstuck, there were only 180,000 people using their mobile phones as their primary browsing facility in SA at the end of 2008. This number have obviously grown since then but I think it will have a greater effect in time. Great Post!

  2. that is interesting... If we only have 2 million on broadband users, and 1.7 million facebook users... I would have guessed many of those were using it on a mobile device...

    I wonder if arthur wants to chim in here?

  3. Sure thing! The 180 000 refers to using their cellphones as primary access device, meaning they don't have PCs or laptops connected to the Internet. That number's expected to grow fast, to 450 000 by end of 2009.

    The issue of how we define the mobile Internet and things like WAP access, etc, are a different matter. That's being researched right now in our Mobility 2009 project and we'll report back in September.

    On the big numbers: At the end of 2008 there were 1.4m boradband accounts, representing 1.1m broadband users (many have 3G as a back-up, etc). That number should grow by about 50% in 2009.

    But then don't forget the corporate users: around 2-million in SA (and many ban Facebook, of course).

    And then there are users at tertiary institutions - around half-a-million (some also ban Facebook). So Facebook growth has only just started.

    (PS: more stats and stuff at


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