Feb. 8, 2008
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Facebook Inc. unveiled a Spanish-language version of its
popular online social network , hoping to expand its audience and catch up
to rival MySpace.com.
It marks the first time Facebook has been available in a language besides
English since founder Mark Zuckerberg started the Web site at Harvard
University four years ago.
Facebook plans to add French and German versions before April, according to
Matt Cohler, the Palo Alto-based company's vice president of strategy and
News Corp.'s MySpace, which is larger than Facebook, already is available in
13 languages, including Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian.
Adding more languages is important to Facebook because about 60 percent of
its 64 million active users are from outside the United States, including
about 2.8 million in Latin America and Spain.
Beginning next week, anyone accessing Facebook from a Spanish-speaking
country will automatically be routed to the Spanish version of its Web site.
About 1,500 Facebook users translated the site's vernacular and applications
into Spanish using a tool the company provided. The same approach is being
used to handle the French and German translations of the site.