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The World’s Closest International Relationships, According to Facebook

An interactive map depicts the Facebook friendships between countries

smithsonian.com

Facebook reveals not only people’s social connections but whole countries’, too. To illuminate these sometimes unexpected ties, FacebookStories.com assembled a nifty interactive map that depicts the Facebook friendships between countries. As author Mia Newman writes:

As we did a little research, some unusual connections become surprisingly clear. We learned that immigration between Japan and Brazil dates back to the 1970s, that Poles are the largest immigrant group in Iceland, and that more people commute across the border each day to work in Liechtenstein than Liechtensteiner locals going to work in their own country.

Here are some of the more interesting finds:

The U.S. 

Photo: Facebook Stories

The U.S. maintains a lot of Facebook friendships with English-speaking Canada, Australia and the U.K. As of 2010, approximately 30 percent of foreign-born populations in the States hailed from Mexico, so it’s no surprise that Facebook connects Mexican residents and those in the U.S. with ties south of the border. The Dominican Republic ranks as the largest Caribbean economy, and around 100,000 U.S. citizens live there. Over 1 million DR-born citizens live in the U.S., and many have dual citizenship. But Dominican-born citizens comprise only the fifth largest Hispanic population in the U.S., raising questions about whether Cubans and El Savadorans – the third and fourth largest Hispanic populations, respectively – just don’t like using Facebook as much. (The second highest ranking group is the nebulous “other” Hispanic category).

Iraq 

Photo: Facebook Stories

It comes as no surprise that Iraqis like to befriend Facebookers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the U.A.E., all fellow Muslim and Arab-speaking countries. But what’s up with Sweden? As Facebook Stories explains, Sweden tops the list for Iraqi refugees and has allowed more of Iraq’s refuge-seeking citizens to cross its borders than the United States has in recent years. The Swedish town of Sodertalje, for instance, took in over 6,000 Iraqis since 2003 and is fondly referred to as “Little Baghdad.”

Mongolia

Photo: Facebook Stories

Again with the unexpected Sweden connection! According the to Embassy of Mongolia in Sweden, Sweden was one of the  first Western nations to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia, which gave Mongolia a boost in international standings back in the 1960s. The two countries established the Mongolia-Sweden Business Cooperation over 20 years ago, too, and mining representatives frequently shuttle back and forth between Ulaanbaatar and Stockholm. Apparently, diplomats and business reps use Facebook to keep in touch, too.

More from Smithsonian.com:
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Facebook Friends of Social Networking Scientists Help Identify Fish 

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