Facebook is a US-based social media conglomerate corporation that was founded in 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard University students, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew Mccollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. With about 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social network in the world. Facebook is also considered one of the "Big Five" technology companies alongside Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Facebook is also tremendously profitable, with 2020 profits of $32.6 billion USD from total revenue of $85.9 billion USD, most of which came from advertising.
Facebook’s additional products include image-based media sites Instagram and Giphy, messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp, and VR headset developer Oculus. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, WhatsApp and Oculus in 2014, and Giphy in 2020—though a UK regulatory agency soon flagged the Giphy purchase as an anti-competitive move and ordered facebook to sell the company. Also in 2021, Facebook introduced a new overarching umbrella brand, Meta, which it bills as a "social technology" company.
Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Facebook Users (2020-2021):
India has the highest number of Facebook users in any country in the world, with more than 400 million. This is, in part, due to India’s population of 1.4 billion people being the second-highest in the world behind China. If India’s Facebook users were to form a nation, it would be the fifth-most populated country globally. The United States has the second-highest number of users, with about 240 million. At a population of about 334 million, this means that more than 71% of people in the United States—nearly three out of every four people—are Facebook users. In fact, because Facebook requires users to be age 13 or older to open an account, the true rate of membership is likely even higher.
Facebook censorship around the world
Facebook has grown rapidly worldwide, with almost every country having Facebook users. The platform’s easy access enables people to connect and keep in touch from anywhere in the world more easily than they could before. In democracies, Facebook and other social media platforms help political campaigns, deliver news, organize movements and protests, and more. However, because Facebook accepts most content with little to no moderation, it occasionally finds itself criticized by national governments. In the U.S., Facebook has come under fire for enabling the spread of misinformation, such as during political campaigns and the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, countries address misinformation with a content ban. For instance, Austria has laws against denying the holocaust, so any posts that deny the holocaust are banned.
What's more, countries such as China, which exercise strict censorship over the internet, and countries with totalitarian regimes see Facebook's ability to spread information as a threat. Similarly, some countries ruled by strict religious fundamentalists view Facebook as a platform that enables blasphemy. Because of this, many countries have censored or limited access to portions of Facebook, and a few have banned it entirely.
Countries that have censored or banned Facebook:
|Austria||Known to ban posts denying the WWII holocaust|
|Bangladesh||Blocked on multiple occasions to deter pornography and "offensive" political content or to quell political unrest|
|CHINA||Total ban since 2009. Work on a censored variation that the government would allow continues|
|Egypt||Blocked briefly in 2011 to quell political unrest|
|France||Known to ban posts denying the WWII holocaust|
|Germany||Known to ban posts denying the WWII holocaust or praising Nazis|
|Greece||Banned 2021 posts that supported a prisoner's hunger strike|
|India||Temporarily banned multiple occasions to quell political unrest; frequently requests removal posts the government finds too offensive or political|
|Indonesia||Blocked briefly in 2019 to quell political unrest; requests takedown of any posts mocking Muhammad|
|IRAN||Total ban since 2009|
|Israel||Frequently requests removal of posts the government claims incite violence. Critics say these are merely opposing political viewpoints|
|Malaysia||Blocked briefly in 2011 to quell political unrest|
|Mauritius||Blocked for one day in 2007|
|Morocco||Facebook Messenger and other VOIP phone providers blocked for most of 2016|
|NORTH KOREA||Total ban since 2016. However, few in country have internet access in the first place|
|Pakistan||Blocked briefly in 2011 after insult to Muhammad, again in 2017 to quell political unrest|
|Russia||Blocked all posts supporting Putin foe Aleksei A. Navalny in 2014|
|Sri Lanka||Blocked briefly multiple times in 2018-2019 to quell political unrest|
|Sudan||Blocked temporarily in 2018 to quell political protests|
|SYRIA||Blocked 2007-11 through 2011-02 on the claim that it promoted violence against authorities. Netwide filtering and blocking of political content is known to take place.|
|Tajikistan||Blocked temporarily on multiple occasions for negative comments about ruling class|
|Thailand||Blocked users illegally criticizing ruling monarchy in 2020|
|Tunisia||Known to block posts or users critical of government|
|Turkey||Blocked briefly multiple occasions to quell political unrest|
|United Kingdom||Pages connected to radical anti-government activists were removed upon their arrest in 2011 and 2018|
|Vietnam||Blocked briefly in 2016 to quell political unrest|