Facebook En Francais
Facebook En FrancaisMar 11 2008 - Multilingual - Farhad Divecha
Facebook is truly trying to reach out the World over. After having, very recently, started its German and Spanish versions; they have now gone online in French.
This feat was accomplished with the help of some 4,000 users of Facebook who gave various suggestions to translate the program into French. They eventually voted for the best translation. The same strategy was used to launch the German and Spanish versions of Facebook.
Facebook was launched in 2004, by a young entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg from Harvard as a social networking site for students of the college, from where it spread to other colleges and then into the workplace in general. Facebook claims to have accumulated 67 million users in this short span of time, of which about 1.4 million live in France.
Users can now choose any of the four languages in which the site is available, through a drop down menu to display their homepage. However it should be noted that as of now, the different applications, games, software nuggets etc. are available only in English.
Over 1,30,000 users greeted the launch of the French version with enthusiasm. Some users, however, are not satisfied with the program, as Facebook has only gone halfway with the translation.
The majority of Facebook users now live outside the U.S; with about a third based in Europe. According to Facebook, France is the 6th largest community on their website. Facebook has been steadily eating into the market share of the current social networking leader, MySpace, which was started in 2003 and then acquired by Rupert Murdoch. MySpace claims to have 110 million users.
According to Forbes magazine, Zuckerberg, who is only 23, is the youngest ever self-made billionaire. Last year Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook, which means its net worth, is $15 billion. Last month Facebook hired Sheryl Sandberg of Google to boost their previous year’s turnover of $150 million in order to make the investment worth it for Microsoft. Zuckerberg says, “the foreign language sites are a part of a larger effort at Facebook to create web communication tools capable of spurring social change.”