Squeeze-out in cyberspace: Facebook vs. ASEAN social media

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Linkhay
Linkhay.com, Vietnam’s version of Facebook

Southeast Asians love Facebook. Indonesia has 64 million total Facebook users, Bangkok is the city with the most Facebook users per capita and Vietnam has the fastest rate of people joining Facebook in the world.

This is great news for Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, but it is a problem for the assortment of native Southeast Asian social media sites.

Among the losers from Facebook’s Southeast Asian expansion is LinkHay, Vietnam’s original social media site that existed well before Facebook’s arrival in the country. Vietnam is estimated to add one million Facebook users a month. Since Facebook came on the scene in Vietnam, LinkHay has seen its site traffic plummet. This site appears to be going the way of Hi5 and Friendster, two early competitors of Facebook that have all but disappeared.

For some, Facebook’s growing dominance in ASEAN social media is cause for alarm. The concern is that the ubiquity of the website will discourage entrepreneurs who might find new and exciting local models, whose success would generate jobs and economic growth.

But Southeast Asian political groups have seen the writing on the wall and now routinely campaign on Facebook, as well as via Twitter. In Thailand, the Red Shirts (supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra) and their backers are avid users of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to prosecute their cause. In Myanmar, the president’s spokesmen have Facebook pages where they document the president’s activities and sing his praises day after day. In Indonesia, Facebook has become a primary platform for communicating about social and political change, such as a recent widespread protest against extremist Muslim groups, which was organized entirely on Facebook and Twitter.

Though Facebook’s current dominance threatens Southeast Asia’s social media entrepreneurs, it also provides opportunities for new ones. Facebook is making a generation of young people deeply familiar with and somewhat dependent on social media for their personal interactions. These millions of people are therefore a natural audience for the next level social media websites that could be developed in Southeast Asia, and for add-ons to Facebook that might appeal to a regional audience. Though the Friendsters of the world might not make it, the next big thing will have a ready-made user base waiting for them in ASEAN.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Linkhay.com, Vietnam’s version of Facebook

Southeast Asians love Facebook. Indonesia has 64 million total Facebook users, Bangkok is the city with the most Facebook users per capita and Vietnam has the fastest rate of people joining Facebook in the world.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Linkhay
Linkhay.com, Vietnam’s version of Facebook

Southeast Asians love Facebook. Indonesia has 64 million total Facebook users, Bangkok is the city with the most Facebook users per capita and Vietnam has the fastest rate of people joining Facebook in the world.

This is great news for Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, but it is a problem for the assortment of native Southeast Asian social media sites.

Among the losers from Facebook’s Southeast Asian expansion is LinkHay, Vietnam’s original social media site that existed well before Facebook’s arrival in the country. Vietnam is estimated to add one million Facebook users a month. Since Facebook came on the scene in Vietnam, LinkHay has seen its site traffic plummet. This site appears to be going the way of Hi5 and Friendster, two early competitors of Facebook that have all but disappeared.

For some, Facebook’s growing dominance in ASEAN social media is cause for alarm. The concern is that the ubiquity of the website will discourage entrepreneurs who might find new and exciting local models, whose success would generate jobs and economic growth.

But Southeast Asian political groups have seen the writing on the wall and now routinely campaign on Facebook, as well as via Twitter. In Thailand, the Red Shirts (supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra) and their backers are avid users of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to prosecute their cause. In Myanmar, the president’s spokesmen have Facebook pages where they document the president’s activities and sing his praises day after day. In Indonesia, Facebook has become a primary platform for communicating about social and political change, such as a recent widespread protest against extremist Muslim groups, which was organized entirely on Facebook and Twitter.

Though Facebook’s current dominance threatens Southeast Asia’s social media entrepreneurs, it also provides opportunities for new ones. Facebook is making a generation of young people deeply familiar with and somewhat dependent on social media for their personal interactions. These millions of people are therefore a natural audience for the next level social media websites that could be developed in Southeast Asia, and for add-ons to Facebook that might appeal to a regional audience. Though the Friendsters of the world might not make it, the next big thing will have a ready-made user base waiting for them in ASEAN.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid