Japan hates Facebook

John Moe Jan 10, 2011

Really interesting article in the Times. Not sure if it says more about Facebook or more about Japan but the social network is a total bust in that country. Why? Privacy. Facebook insists on users being identified by their real name but other, much more popular social sites in Japan let you mask your identity and go by whatever names, or multiples of names, you wish. Here, a Japanese woman talks about her preference for the site Mixi:

People like Maiko Ueda, 26, a Mixi devotee, see little reason to switch. Ms. Ueda, who works at a stationer based in Osaka, logs into Mixi at least once a day to read other users’ “diaries,” which resemble status updates on Facebook, albeit in longer form. She uploads pictures of her American shorthair cat, and sometimes writes about her day in her own posts.
But most people on Mixi do not know her real name, nor have they seen what she looks like. In her five years on Mixi, she has never uploaded a photo of herself.
She has heard of Facebook but says she is suspicious of “how open it seems.”
“I don’t want to give it my real name,” Ms. Ueda said. “What if strangers find out who you are? Or someone from your company?” She spoke on the condition that her Mixi user name would not be revealed.

Mixi has 20 million users in Japan, Facebook has less than 2 million.

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