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16 Sep 2020

Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - Chapter 3

Facebook advertising data in Africa
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This chapter presents a descriptive analysis of migration-related data from Facebook’s Advertising Platform for the African continent. It provides an estimate of the raw number of migrants in Africa, and a disaggregation by country of origin and by sex. According to the data, the total number of “migrants” – Facebook users who “live abroad” in Africa, regardless of the country of origin – is 10.4 million. Analysis hints at the potential value of the data, while also illustrating challenges for any cross-national work, due to the strong heterogeneity of Facebook use. Digital trace data offer an opportunity for migration studies in low- and middle-income country contexts, and can be used to complement rather than replace traditional data sources.