Facebook has overtaken MySpace to become the world's most popular social networking site with 132 million unique visitors in June, according to new figures from web tracking firm ComScore, dpa reported.
The study also found that Facebook's visitor growth far outpaced that of MySpace, with Facebook visits up 153 per cent on an annual basis, compared to just 3 per cent growth for MySpace. Other social networks showing strong global growth include Hi5 (100 per cent) Friendster (50 per cent), Orkut (41 per cent) and Bebo (32 per cent).
Comscore said Facebook grew 38 per cent in the US, where it had 49 million visitors in June.
The strongest growth was in Latin America, where Facebook's visitors grew by 1055 per cent. The number of European visitors tripled to 35 million a month, while growth in the Middle East and Africa was 400 per cent. In the Asia Pacific region visitors increased 458 per cent.
"Facebook has done an exceptional job of leveraging its brand internationally during the past year," ComScore executive Jack Flanagan said in a statement from the company. "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."
Comscore said the dizzying increases were helped by Facebook's tiny global presence prior to its recent initiative to translate the site into other languages. A year ago, it had only 1 million unique visits a month in all of Latin America, 3 million in the Middle East and Africa, and 4 million in all of Asia Pacific.
Flanagan said international expansion was now the main target for the major social networking sites.
"While the social networking trend first took off in North America, it is beginning to reach a point of maturity in the region," Flanagan said. "However, the phenomenon is still growing rapidly in other regions around the world - especially as the established American brands turn their focus to developing markets."