I’ve always wondered why Facebook isn’t nearly as popular and important in other countries as it is in the US.

The New York Times posted a great article highlighting the complicated reasons why Facebook hasn’t caught on in the country, and they’re pretty interesting.

The abundance of alternative Japanese social networking sites like Mixi and Gree seem to have a shared dominance over the Japanese internet crowd, with little attention left available for Facebook.

The most intriguing aspect of the issue, for me, is this phrase:

Japanese Web users, even popular bloggers, typically hide behind pseudonyms or nicknames.

That, right there, seems to me the most obvious reason why Facebook doesn’t succeed over there. Facebook calls for total honesty and real names (at least in your various networks). You can’t have a Facebook account without using your real name (unless you’re really crafty), and that would definitely clash with a culture that thrives on anonymity and Internet nicknames.

Read the article for more information as to why Facebook is failing in Japan.

It’s really interesting when you consider just how absurdly important the site is in the US, spawning big huge hit movies (The Social Network) and ridiculous profit margins.

What do you think about Facebook’s lack of popularity in Japan?


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