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Which African countries share the closest friendship connections on Facebook?

October 14, 2012  »  WebNo Comment

Mapping the World’s Friendships, an interactive map, shows the depth of Facebook social ties between all countries. Rankings are are based on the number of Facebook friendships between countries and the total number of Facebook friendships within each country. Deeper research shows the strength of Facebook connections generally depends on immigration trends, economic links, and ties to former colonizing nations (usually via linguistic and cultural common ground).

Mapping the World's Friendships - Mali

Malian Facebook users are most often friends with users in Ivory Coast, Senegal, and France. Click to visit interactive map. {Facebook Stories}

As we found out after looking at each African nation’s networks, connections are strongest with neighboring countries. For example, East African Facebook users have strong ties with other countries in the region. Similarly, there are strong ties between West Africa and France; North Africa and the Middle East; Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Portugal. However, there are a few outliers that are worth noting. Most notably, nations with extremely few Facebook users appear to produce misleading ‘friendships’ due to lack of data.

Also Notable:

  • Guinea-Bissau has Kenya as 4th closest country
  • Sierra Leone has strongest relationship with Tanzania
  • Liberia’s 3rd strongest link is with South Africa
  • Ethiopian friendships produced unusual results – UAE was in the #2 spot
  • Equatorial Guinea has strongest friendships with Spain instead of an African neighbor

Strongest Ties with France:

  • Cameroon, Senegal, Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros all have France as the closest nation

Strong Ties with United Kingdom:

  • Gambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria all have the UK as the 2nd or 3rd closest nation

Questionable Results:

  • Chad: Indonesia 2nd?
  • DRC: Ecuador 2nd?
  • Eritrea: Sweden 3rd, Norway 4th, Switzerland 5th?
  • Somalia: Sweden 3rd, Norway 5th?
  • Central African Republic: Kazakhstan 1st, Indonesia 2nd?

A Stanford graduate in International Relations, Mia Newman’s research provided “A Closer Look” at the relationships between countries. The interactive map was built in collaboration with Stamen, a design and technology studio in San Francisco specializing in maps and data visualizations.