For many around the world, the internet simply doesn’t speak their language

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg lectured mobile phone operators gathered in Barcelona yesterday about their obsession with faster 5G connections for “rich people.” And indeed, a Pew survey on global internet use (pdf) released yesterday (Feb. 22) shows that there’s still a pervasive gap in the use of mobile and internet technologies between rich and poor countries, even as use of these technologies is increasing across the board.

But it turns out that the digital divide isn’t just about money. A study released by Facebook (pdf) yesterday points out that another major adoption barrier is the fact that the internet is dominated by a handful of languages, creating an exclusionary and irrelevant network for people who don’t speak those tongues. “Just 10 languages account for 89% of websites (56% are in English),” the Facebook report says.

Read more: Quartz

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