Why half of all Facebook Messenger voice traffic comes from Cambodia



Although it is mainly a text messaging system, the voice notes feature of Facebook Messenger is popular in Cambodia. Let’s see why.

mobile phone with screen showing social media icons in human hand

Cambodians much prefer to send voice notes rather than messages. For this reason, almost all of their communication is done in the form of voice notes rather than text messages. And Facebook Messenger is the most affected platform.

The approximately 12,931,000 Facebook users in Cambodia generate 50% of all global Facebook Messenger voice traffic. Here’s why.

Messenger cannot handle Khmer

The chat menu on Facebook Messenger

Cambodians use Facebook as a voicemail service rather than a text messaging service. It’s not Facebook’s fault. Rather, it has to do with the complexity of the Khmer language of Cambodia.

Khmer has 74 characters, the largest in the world. Compare that to English which has 26 letters. Due to the large number of characters in the Khmer alphabet, it is impossible for a standard keyboard to integrate all of them.

The solution is to make each key on the keyboard represent two different characters, which means that you have to constantly switch between two keyboard layers in order to type the average phrase.


Also, if the recipient’s computer does not have fonts that match the sender’s, it will not be able to read the message. In addition, most Cambodians access the internet through a smartphone with a much smaller screen. This makes it almost impossible to type a consistent message in Khmer, let alone format that text in Messenger.

For the average Cambodian, it makes sense to avoid all of this hassle by sending a voice note. Related: How to Block and Unblock a User on Messenger

Disadvantages of Voicemail on Messenger

Voice notes have some drawbacks. First, you cannot search for voice notes. It would take huge amounts of scrolling and very precise memory to retrieve an old message.

There’s also the fact that a voice note is easy to edit and manipulate, opening up users to various types of abuse or blackmail. A manipulated voice note is not as easy to detect as a manipulated video. Thus, a user’s conversations can be sliced ​​and diced to make it look like they’ve said something they never would have said otherwise.

There are also fears that young Cambodians may lose the ability to use writing to communicate in Khmer. Young people don’t seem to care at all though. In just two years, Facebook has added nearly three million users in Cambodia.

Thus, Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform and this Facebook Messenger voice memo is Cambodia’s favorite communication tool. Cambodians also prefer to use voice notes on other popular platforms such as LINE, WhatsApp, and Telegram.


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