Book Chapter

Demographic differentials in Facebook usage around the world

Gil-Clavel, B. S., Zagheni, E.
In: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (Ed.): Proceedings of the Thirteenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2019): 11-14 June 2019, Munich, Germany, 647–650
Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 13.1
Palo Alto, CA, AAAI Press (2019)
Open Access


We use data from the Facebook Advertisement Platform to study patterns of demographic disparities in usage of Facebook across countries. We address three main questions: (1) How does Facebook usage differ by age and by gender around the world? (2) How does the size of friendship networks vary by age and by gender? (3) What are the demographic characteristics of specific subgroups of Facebook users? We find that in countries in North America and northern Europe, patterns of Facebook usage differ little between older people and younger adults. In Asian countries, which have high levels of gender inequality, differences in Facebook adoption by gender disappear at older ages, possibly as a result of selectivity. We also observe that across countries, women tend to have larger networks of close friends than men, and that female users who are living away from their hometown are more likely to engage in Facebook use than their male counterparts, regardless of their region and age group. Our findings contextualize recent research on gender gaps in online usage, and offer new insights into some of the nuances of demographic differentials in the adoption and the use of digital technologies.

Keywords: World, computational demography, computational social science, social network
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.