Twitter Country Codes & International Hashtag Abbreviations

One of the most powerful features of Twitter is the ability to insert hashtags — words or abbreviations preceded by the hash symbol: # (also called a “pound sign” or “number sign”). Hashtags are a form of shorthand, which is important when you’re trying to communicate within Twitter’s 140-character limit. Hashtags can also be used to search the twitterverse. Try searching  for tweets with the hashtag #solar. The vast majority of messages returned will be related to solar power.  That’s because twitter users interested in solar power have, over time, learned that by adding the hashtag #solar, their messages are more likely to be read by others with the same interest.

Because Twitter is now used around the world, hashtags for countries have become popular. During the 2010 World Cup, Twitter used an algorithm that allowed fans to insert their country’s flag into a tweet by adding a country abbreviation with the # symbol. Not every country was represented in the World Cup, and the country abbreviations themselves weren’t intuitive — not surprising when the same country is called something different in each language.

Having a standardized abbreviation for every country is important to disaster relief workers — and to victims and their families and friends. Often, a mobile phone may be the only way to communicate with the outside world in a disaster. (See Tweak the Tweet’s work producing a new hashtag syntax to aid in disasters.)

Regardless of how it’s used, for emergencies, business,  journalism or for sports, a globally recognized hashtag for each country makes Twitter more efficient and helpful.

The United Nations (Statistics Division) is switching from the old two-letter abbreviations to the three-letter standard called ISO Alpha 3, devised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  Twitter users should follow that lead. Below are the ISO country names — with hash marks already added for your copy-and-paste convenience.

Bookmarking this page will allow you to find out quickly what country is being discussed in a tweet about #MDV going carbon neutral. Or what country to avoid (#GUM) if you have a particular phobia about brown tree snakes.

Happy Tweeting. @thephoenixsun.

 

Country & Area Hashtags for Twitter

[Last updated: 5 February 2015]

Afghanistan #AFG
Åland Islands #ALA
Albania #ALB
Algeria #DZA
American Samoa #ASM
Andorra #AND
Angola #AGO
Anguilla #AIA
Antigua and Barbuda #ATG
Argentina #ARG
Armenia #ARM
Aruba #ABW
Australia #AUS
Austria #AUT
Azerbaijan #AZE
Bahamas #BHS
Bahrain #BHR
Bangladesh #BGD
Barbados #BRB
Belarus #BLR
Belgium #BEL
Belize #BLZ
Benin #BEN
Bermuda #BMU
Bhutan #BTN
Bolivia #BOL
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
#BES
Bosnia and Herzegovina #BIH
Botswana #BWA
Brazil #BRA
British Virgin Islands #VGB
Brunei #BRN
Bulgaria #BGR
Burkina Faso #BFA
Burundi #BDI
Cabo Verde #CPV
Cambodia #KHM
Cameroon #CMR
Canada #CAN
Cayman Islands #CYM
Central African Republic #CAF
Chad #TCD
Chile #CHL
China #CHN
China, Hong Kong #HKG
China, Macao #MAC
Colombia #COL
Comoros #COM
Congo #COG
Cook Islands #COK
Costa Rica #CRI
Côte d’Ivoire #CIV
Croatia #HRV
Cuba #CUB
Curaçao
#CUW
Cyprus #CYP
Czech Republic #CZE
Democratic Republic of the Congo #COD
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
#PRK
Denmark #DNK
Djibouti #DJI
Dominica #DMA
Dominican Republic #DOM
Ecuador #ECU
Egypt #EGY
El Salvador #SLV
Equatorial Guinea #GNQ
Eritrea #ERI
Estonia #EST
Ethiopia #ETH
Faeroe Islands #FRO
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) #FLK
Fiji #FJI
Finland #FIN
France #FRA
French Guiana #GUF
French Polynesia #PYF
Gabon #GAB
Gambia #GMB
Georgia #GEO
Germany #DEU
Ghana #GHA
Gibraltar #GIB
Greece #GRC
Greenland #GRL
Grenada #GRD
Guadeloupe #GLP
Guam #GUM
Guatemala #GTM
Guernsey #GGY
Guinea #GIN
Guinea-Bissau #GNB
Guyana #GUY
Haiti #HTI
Holy See #VAT
Honduras #HND
Hungary #HUN
Iceland #ISL
India #IND
Indonesia #IDN
Iran (Islamic Republic of) #IRN
Iraq #IRQ
Ireland #IRL
Isle of Man #IMN
Israel #ISR
Italy #ITA
Jamaica #JAM
Japan #JPN
Jersey #JEY
Jordan #JOR
Kazakhstan #KAZ
Kenya #KEN
Kiribati #KIR
Kuwait #KWT
Kyrgyzstan #KGZ
Lao People’s Democratic Republic #LAO
Latvia #LVA
Lebanon #LBN
Lesotho #LSO
Liberia #LBR
Libya #LBY
Liechtenstein #LIE
Lithuania #LTU
Luxembourg #LUX
Madagascar #MDG
Malawi #MWI
Malaysia #MYS
Maldives #MDV
Mali #MLI
Malta #MLT
Marshall Islands #MHL
Martinique #MTQ
Mauritania #MRT
Mauritius #MUS
Mayotte #MYT
Mexico #MEX
Micronesia (Federated States of) #FSM
Monaco #MCO
Mongolia #MNG
Montenegro #MNE
Montserrat #MSR
Morocco #MAR
Mozambique #MOZ
Myanmar #MMR
Namibia #NAM
Nauru #NRU
Nepal #NPL
Netherlands #NLD
New Caledonia #NCL
New Zealand #NZL
Nicaragua #NIC
Niger #NER
Nigeria #NGA
Niue #NIU
Norfolk Island #NFK
Northern Mariana Islands #MNP
Norway #NOR
Oman #OMN
Pakistan #PAK
Palau #PLW
Panama #PAN
Papua New Guinea #PNG
Paraguay #PRY
Peru #PER
Philippines #PHL
Pitcairn #PCN
Poland #POL
Portugal #PRT
Puerto Rico #PRI
Qatar #QAT
Republic of Korea
#KOR
Republic of Moldova #MDA
Réunion #REU
Romania #ROU
Russian Federation #RUS
Rwanda #RWA
Saint-Barthélemy #BLM
Saint Helena #SHN
Saint Kitts and Nevis #KNA
Saint Lucia #LCA
Saint Pierre and Miquelon #SPM
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines #VCT
Saint-Martin (French part) #MAF
Samoa #WSM
San Marino #SMR
Sao Tome and Principe #STP
Saudi Arabia #SAU
Senegal #SEN
Serbia #SRB
Seychelles #SYC
Sierra Leone #SLE
Singapore #SGP
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
#SXM
Slovakia #SVK
Slovenia #SVN
Solomon Islands #SLB
Somalia #SOM
South Africa #ZAF
South Sudan #SSD
Spain #ESP
Sri Lanka #LKA
State of Palestine #PSE
Sudan #SDN
Suriname #SUR
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands
#SJM
Swaziland #SWZ
Sweden #SWE
Switzerland #CHE
Syrian Arab Republic #SYR
Taiwan #TWN
Tajikistan #TJK
Thailand #THA
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
#MKD
Timor-Leste #TLS
Togo #TGO
Tokelau #TKL
Tonga #TON
Trinidad and Tobago #TTO
Tunisia #TUN
Turkey #TUR
Turkmenistan #TKM
Turks and Caicos Islands #TCA
Tuvalu #TUV
Uganda #UGA
Ukraine #UKR
United Arab Emirates #ARE
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
#GBR
United Republic of Tanzania
#TZA
United States of America #USA
United States Virgin Islands #VIR
Uruguay #URY
Uzbekistan #UZB
Vanuatu #VUT
Venezuela #VEN
Viet Nam #VNM
Wallis and Futuna Islands #WLF
Western Sahara #ESH
Yemen #YEM
Zambia #ZMB
Zimbabwe #ZWE

12 thoughts on “Twitter Country Codes & International Hashtag Abbreviations

  1. #MAR for Morocco is based on Maroc, the French name for that nation (which is largely French-speaking). Even Morocco’s internet TLD is .ma so it’s not too far off from how it’s been registered to begin with.
    As for UAE, their internet TLD is .ae so perhaps they thought it best to keep it close to the same alphabetically? If you’re used to searching for AE (ISO 3166), you may not think to look for UAE.
    The exact same thing goes for Saudi Arabia; TLD is .sa and ISO 3166 is the same, so they may have wanted to keep it similar. If, in a search, you type in SA, you’ll see SAU right there and find it easily.
    It makes sense from an organisational point of view, for the sake of brevity.

  2. United Arab Emirates, should be #UAE not #ARE, Saudi Arabia should be #KSA not #SAU and Morocco #MAR makes no sense. They should hide the whisky bottles at the UN.

    • Don’t blame the UN — the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) devised the abbreviations. They’re not all intuitive, but in some cases more obvious country codes are already widely-used internationally to refer to something else. There are political implications to the codes, as well. (For example, the UN doesn’t recognize Taiwan and so you won’t find that nation’s code on the UN site. “TWN” is used by the ISO.)

      The most important part for twitter users is to have a single standard, an internationally recognized three-letter code for each country. That’s what this list is.

  3. I dont know why they are changing to the 3 letter code rather than the two letter code although most just add an extra letter to the end.

    These are also used in the olympics to determine countries.

    • Dunno, but my guess is that the precision gained by going to a three-letter code outweighed the benefits of brevity.

      Personally, I’m happy with the change. This way, three-letter hashtags are reserved for countries, while two-letter tags refer to states in the US. Using the old two-letter system, #AL could mean either Albania or Alabama.

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