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From Mercury News:

In its earliest days, Facebook was primarily a white and Asian phenomenon. No more. In the first study of the race and ethnicity of its U.S. users, Facebook said Wednesday that blacks and Latinos have joined the social networking giant at a rapid clip in the past several years.

Illustrating the growing diversity of online users as the Internet matures, a study by Facebook researchers found that about 11 percent of the social network’s approximately 100 million U.S. members were African-American, about 9 percent were Latino and 6 percent were Asian, according to a post on Facebook’s blog Wednesday evening — a much higher share for blacks and Latinos than four years ago.

Facebook does not ask its more than 350 million worldwide members to disclose their race. But researchers at the Palo Alto-based social network used a Census Bureau database of the demographic characteristics of 150,000 American surnames to track the rapidly changing racial makeup of its U.S. members over the past four years.

“What we’ve seen over time is that as Facebook has grown in the U.S. population, we’ve come to represent a cross-section” of Americans who are online, said Cameron Marlow, the Facebook data scientist who led the study.

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