MANILA – Despite a low Internet penetration rate, the Philippines leads Asia Pacific nations in the use of social networking sites as Filipinos leap to mobile to increase reach.

According to research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., the Philippines seemed to embrace social network sites Facebook and Twitter more openly compared to some of Asia’s developed economies.

“While Asia's biggest economies have been slow to embrace the global social communities of Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter, many countries in the region have followed the adoption patterns of Europe and the US," the firm said.

"The most avid social networkers are in the Philippines, where Facebook is the country's most visited Internet site,” it added.

The study confirmed the results of the Yahoo!-Nielsen Net Index last June, where access to Facebook increased to 83 percent from 54 percent last year, while access to Friendster slipped to 84 percent from 92 percent.

Gartner also said the Philippines and Singapore joined Indonesia in the top 10 countries with the highest penetration of Twitter worldwide, ranked sixth and ninth respectively.

“Twitter is one global platform that does cross cultural boundaries more readily than the major social platforms due to its adaptability to local cultures, languages and its ubiquitous availability on mobile devices,” the report said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)