Ranked: The World's Most Popular Social Networks, and Who Owns Them
The World's Most Popular Social Networks, and Who Owns Them
There are currently more than 4.5 billion people across the world who utilize one form or another of social media. That's about 57% of the total population.
Although social media's users are vast and diverse, only few companies control most of the world's most popular social media platforms. Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook has four of the five most widely used platforms.
This graphic showcases the most popular social networks
around the world, measured by their active monthly members (MAUs).
Note: We'll be using phrases like "social network" and "social platform" interchangeably to identify various video, messaging, and image-sharing platforms with social features built-in.
Top Social Platforms by Monthly Active Users
To determine the MAUs of each platform, we dug into various sources which include the most recent company SEC filings, as well as quarterly earnings releases.
The majority of Meta's user base is on its most popular platform, Facebook. The social media giant currently has about 2.9 billion MAUs across the globe.
Where where are Facebook users located? The platform's biggest user base originates from India with an estimated audience size of almost 350 million. Its second-largest user base is the United States, with 193.9 million users, while Indonesia comes in third place with 142.5 million.
However, Facebook isn't the only social giant in Meta's ecosystem of platforms. WhatsApp has approximately 2 billion MAUs that makes it the second-largest platform on Meta as well as the third-largest network of social networks all-in-all.
Similar to Facebook the majority of WhatsApp users are in India approximately 390 million users. Brazil also has a large share of WhatsApp users, too with an audience of around 108 million.
The Billion Users Club
Meta is currently the most popular social media landscape, boasting the total of 7.5 billion MAUs across all four of its platforms. There are a few other companies also have reached the one billion MAU mark across all their platforms on the list.
Following Meta, Tencent has the second most reach due to its three platforms, WeChat Qzone, and QQ. From the three options, WeChat is currently the most popular. On an average WeChat users send about 45 billion messages every day.
Third of the top three is Alphabet thanks to the single platform it operates on, YouTube. The platform was launched in 2005. video streaming platform currently has over 50 million content creators with an average of 500 hours video material each minute.
Nearly behind Alphabet closely behind Alphabet is Bytedance and Bytedance, which have a total of 1.6 billion MAUs on Douyin and its International counterpart TikTok. While both apps share many similarities, they are distinct entities, each with distinct registration requirements, content policies and rules.
Global Social Networks? Not Always
Although social media sites frequently transcend borders of countries It's important to note that the web does not completely escape the restrictions and rules of the physical world.
Since 2009, Facebook is now banned China due to its inability to comply with censorship rules. Facebook was also blocked within Iran and Syria around the same time. Facebook has been blocked intermittently since.
In 2020 it was reported that the Trump administration tried to put in place the same ban on TikTok however, the plan was rejected by a federal court and eventually revoked by the Biden administration a year after.
In spite of various roadblocks and bans however, it's evident that social media platforms have seeped in to the everyday lives (and on the screen) of millions of users around the globe. As the number of internet users worldwide increases as well, so does the numbers of social media users.