Facebook Speaks French

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on March 09, 2008

Parlez-Vous Francais? Facebook does. During his March 9 keynote at South by SouthWest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a French-language version of his popular social networking site. The launch follows the debut of a Spanish-language site in February and a German site earlier this month.

The foreign language sites are part of a larger effort at Facebook to create Web communication tools capable of spurring social change, says Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg began his keynote Q&A session with BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy discussing how Facebook has helped members do everything from organize protests to foster cultural understanding between Western and Middle Eastern nations.

Earlier this year, millions protested in the streets of Colombia against the country’s FARC guerillas after individuals started groups on Facebook urging action.

Zuckerberg also said that young people in Lebanon expressed changed opinions of Western countries after making friends outside of religious schools through the site. “If you add up all those connections you get some profound effects,” said Zuckerberg. “We think we have a chance here to fundamentally change the way people communicate.”

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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