A Facebook page
A Facebook page is displayed on a computer screen. REUTERS

Facebook has replaced Google’s Orkut as the most popular social media website in Brazil, according to a report from analytics firm comScore Inc., underscoring Facebook’s extraordinary popularity in the surging Latin American market.

Facebook attracted 36.1 million Brazilian visitors in December 2011, a 192 percent increase over the past twelve months.

“Facebook’s rapid ascent in the Brazilian market has certainly been one of the most interesting stories to develop during the course of 2011,” said Alex Banks, comScore managing director for Brazil, in a statement.

Orkut, now in second place in Brazil with 34.4 million visitors in December, nonetheless still increased its audience by 5 percent over the past year.

BBC noted that the majority of Orkut’s users are based in Brazil.

Rounding out the top four sites were Windows Live Profile in third place with 13.3 million visitors (up 13 percent), and Twitter.com, ranking fourth with 12.5 million visitors (up 40 percent). Also, Google-plus had 4.3 million visitors.

“Brazil has always been a particularly social market and currently owns the fifth largest social networking population in the world. But despite the cultural affinity for social media, Facebook adoption had traditionally lagged in the market,” Banks added. “That has all changed in the past year, during which the site has tripled in audience size as engagement has grown sevenfold to assume the leadership position in the market.”

Smaller players are also delivering superb growth in Brazil.

Vostu.com and Tumblr.com have grown tremendously -- 338 percent to 4.9 million visitors and Tumblr.com growing 206 percent to 4 million visitors, respectively.

Meanwhile, not only has Facebook attracted a surge of Brazilians to the site, but they are spending more time there.

In December 2011, the average visitor to Facebook.com spent 4.8 hours on the social networking site, a huge jump from only 37 minutes in December 2010.

Visitors also consumed an average of 500 pages of content on the site during December (up 655 percent), and also visited Facebook an average of 27 times during the month (up almost 163 percent).

More females than males use Facebook in Brazil (paralleling trends seen elsewhere) and they tend to spend more time on the site – 5.3 hours versus 4.1 hours over the month.