How the “Big One” buried Facebook in Japan

9 years ago by in Travel

Facebook seemed to be the new darling of the Japanese traditional media in the last few months. Following the release of “The Social Network,” an American movie about Facebook, Japanese media extensively covered the social networking site, as happened with Twitter last year. The March 11 earthquake, however, changed everything. Facebook suddenly stopped growing in Japan, writes AsiaJin.

Considering only 2 percent of the Japanese population uses Facebook, the social platform seems to have lost traction in the earthquake aftermath. Twitter was far more popular. Tens of millions people used the instant messaging social tool to let their friends and families know were safe, with phones being disconnected on a large scale.

Twitter was also largely used by people who were walking to their homes in Tokyo on the night of the disaster. A lot of information, some useful and some rumor, was exchanged during the first hours after the disaster. According to some Japanese bloggers, many Twitter accounts belonging to newspapers in the Tohoku region added 500-700% followers at that time.

Facebook was still very popular among the English-speaking expats living in Japan, and international support for Japan was extensively discussed on the site. For a strictly Japanese speaking audience, however, Facebook lost the battle against Twitter.

Recent reports confirmed by Facebook official data, however, claim that at the beginning of April the user base of the American social network suddenly increased by 20 percent in Japan, to 3 million people. At the same time, large numbers of Facebook users "disappeared" from China, so experts are wondering if the cause of these unusual reports is not just a technical problem. [AsiaJin]