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Official statistics: 51% of 16-74 year old Danes use Facebook

In making a case for why my MSc dissertation here at the Oxford Internet Institute should be concerned with something as hyped and mundane as Facebook, I've been looking for numbers on the Danish social media landscape.

On the English-language web, the commercial SocialBakers Facebook statistics suggest that 49% of the Danish population are on Facebook.

This rather non-transparent number can now be compared with a recent report by Statistics Denmark, suggesting that 51% of 16-74 year old Danes have a Facebook account. The second-largest online social network service in Denmark, LinkedIn, is trailing far behind at 8%. Most surprisingly perhaps, a mere 3% of the surveyed age cohort use Twitter.

As such, there are compelling quantitative reasons for choosing Facebook over e.g. Twitter for a case study of how social media reflect life in Denmark. Another recent survey produced for a Danish daily confirms this: A tiny elite of the 319 most active Twitter users in Denmark write half of all Danish tweets! The total number of Twitter users in Denmark is estimated as 28.000, whereas the number of Facebook users are an impressive 2.6 million.

This latter survey also indicates that the numbers might be hard to estimate in any precise way: It concludes that 70% of Danes have Facebook accounts, while 6% have Twitter accounts, which amounts to a quite strong overestimation of social media penetration in Denmark when compared to the Statistics Denmark report. Here, it is worth noting that according to SocialBakers, 9% of the Danish Facebook users are in the 13-15 years age group, leaving them out of the official statistics.

Apart from giving us an idea about the sheer number of social media users in Denmark, the most interesting finding in the Statistics Denmark report seems to be that one fifth of all online social network users have no idea how to change their privacy settings. This is especially true for older users.

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