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Europeans Connecting via Social Networking

ComScore released the results of a market study exploring social networking site usage in Europe, with a particular focus on France, based on data from the comScore World Metrix audience measurement service.

The study showed that 22 million French Internet users visited at least one social networking site in December 2008, reaching 64 percent of the total French Internet audience.

Of the 282.7 million European Internet users age 15 and older who went online via a home or work computer in December 2008, 211 million visited a social networking site -- representing a penetration of 74.6 percent.

Of the 16 individual European countries included in the study, social networking reach was relatively low in France, at 63.9 percent, compared with 79.8 percent in the U.K. or 73.7 percent in Spain.

Despite its relatively low penetration, France's social networking audience (21.7 million visitors in December) was the third largest in Europe behind the U.K. (29.3 million visitors) and Germany (24.9 million visitors).

More than 21.7 million French Internet users visited a social networking site in December 2008, up 45 percent versus the previous year. Facebook.com ranked as the most popular social networking site with 12 million visitors, growing 443 percent over the course of the past year after launching a French language user interface in February.

Skyrock ranked second with 11 million visitors (up 8 percent), followed by another French site, L'internaute Copains d'Avant, which enjoyed impressive 112 percent growth throughout the year to reach 5.8 million visitors in December. MySpace Sites (3 million visitors) and Flickr.com (1.8 million visitors) rounded out the top five.

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