Iceland Loves Facebook (JóB)


joiben_dlFacebook was mentioned for the first time, in an Icelandic newspaper, in March 2006. The tabloid paper DV ran a story about three U.S. college boys who got drunk and started burning churches. “All of the defendants had so-called Facebook pages,” the tabloid explained, going on to describe how a suspicious Facebook-status helped the police solve the case.

Now, seven years later, this so-called Facebook is used by 72.5 percent of the Icelandic population. Qatar is the only country surpassing us, with an impressive ratio of 81.2 percent.


The table shows the countries with the highest Facebook population ratio. It does not include countries with population under 100,000. (Source: Socialbakers [1])

The results do not surprise me. Almost everyone I know has a Facebook account, even my 86-year-old grandmother. Icelanders are really addicted to Facebook.

Some interesting facts can be found in the data Facebook gives away for marketing reasons.

One example: the youngest age-group allowed on Facebook is 13 years old. In Iceland, that specific age is 62 percent dominated by girls. What does that mean? And does it mean anything at all?

Another example: according to Facebook, we have 7,040 Icelandic users born in the year 1996. According to official data, there are only 4,436 people born that year. This obviously does not add up. How can this be explained?

The age-distribution chart of Icelandic Facebook users is shown below.


The chart shows the age-distribution of the Icelandic Facebook society. (Source: Facebook advertising pages.)

On average, Icelanders have the most Facebook friends the Nordic countries, according to the Nordic executive of Facebook [2]. The comparison goes like this:


Average number of Facebook friends amongst the Nordic countries. The data is from 2011. (Source: [2])

I’m not sure how to interpret these results. Surely, it would be nice to conclude that Icelanders are friendlier than our neighbors. But is that the reason? Really?

I have another theory. It’s bold and brave. Now hear me out: Iceland is very small. It is so small, that you always keep on running into the same people over and over again. The same applies to your conversations; the same names always seem to pop up every now and then. You somehow start to feel acquainted with a lot of people, although you’ve never been formally introduced. And when you finally get the formal introduction, it feels like meeting someone you already know.

You see? In that way, small societies equal more acquaintances. And more acquaintances equal more Facebook friends.

Jóhannes Benediktsson - [email protected]

Jóhannes is filling in for Zoë today.

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Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.