Facebook Launches In Persian Earlier Than Expected

Tonight Facebook will be posting on their blog that they’ve launched the Persian translation of the site to help those in Iran communicate more effectively. What’s not as clear is if Iran has unblocked access to Facebook which had been difficult to access from within the country according to numerous sources. This evening Facebook stated that, “because of the sudden increase in activity we decided to launch it sooner than planned.”

With all the buzz surrounding Twitter and Iran and with increasing buzz on Facebook as well about Iran, the company found it important to launch support earlier. Facebook continued in their blog post that “the translation isn’t perfect, but we felt it was important to help more people communicate rather than wait.” I’ve been covering how social media platforms have been empowering individuals, including in Iran over the past week and Facebook has been one of the leading sites for conversation.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition candidate who some initially announced as the winner, has been using Facebook as one of his primary channels for getting in touch with supporters. Over the past week, traffic to Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Facebook Page has surged dramatically and as our page tracker illustrates, he continues to draw thousands of new supporters each day.

While Twitter has stolen much of the credit for the ongoing communication from within Iran (in addition to being the subject of debate as to what volume of communication is actually from Iranians), Facebook has also seen a dramatic rise in conversation about Iran. As the Facebook Lexicon illustrates in the chart below, discussion about Iran has jumped dramatically over the past week. It’s interesting to watch social media and it’s increasing role in the dissemination of information both from within Iran and from onlookers around the world.