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 in the world who use one form or another of social media. That's about 57% of the globe's population.

Yet, while social media's user base is large and diverse, just few companies own the majority of the world's most popular social media platforms. Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook is the owner of all five of the most used social media platforms.

This graphic showcases the most popular social networks across the globe as measured by their active monthly customers (MAUs).

Note: We'll be using terms like "social network" and "social platform" interchangeably to identify various messaging, video and image-sharing services that have social features built-in.

Top Social Platforms by Monthly Active Users

To measure each platform's MAUs, we dug into various sources which include the most recent company SEC filings as well as quarterly earnings reports.

A large portion of Meta's customer base is from the most well-known platform, Facebook. This social media giant is currently home to around 2.9 billion MAUs across the globe.

 


Where where are Facebook users in the world? The largest number of Facebook users is located in India and has an audience of more than 350 million. The second largest user base comes from the United States, with 193.9 million users. Indonesia comes in third with 142.5 million.

However, Facebook isn't the only major social media player in Meta's entire network of platforms. WhatsApp boasts around 2 billion MAUs, making it the second-largest Meta platform and the third-largest social media network overall.

Similar to Facebook the majority of WhatsApp users reside in India which has around three hundred million people. Brazil is home to a substantial portion of WhatsApp users too, with an audience size of approximately 108 million.

The Billion Users Club

Meta is the current leader in the social network landscape, with an overall total of 7.5 billion MAUs across Four of the platforms. However, a few other companies have also crossed the billion MAU mark across all their platforms on the list.

 

After Meta, Tencent has the second most reach due to its three platforms - WeChat Qzone as well as QQ. From the three options, WeChat is currently the most popular. On basis, WeChat users transmit around 45 billion texts every day.

Third of the top three is Alphabet thanks to one platform, YouTube. The platform was launched in 2005. streaming service currently has more than 50 million creators of content and they share around 500 hours of videos each minute.

The closest competitor to Alphabet closely behind Alphabet is Bytedance and Bytedance, which have a total of 1.6 billion MAUs spread across Douyin as well as its internationally-based counterpart TikTok. While the apps share several similarities, they operate as entirely separate entities, having different registration, content policies and rules.

Global Social Networks? Not Always

While social media networks tend to transcend national borders, it's worth noting that the world of the Internet cannot completely be free from the restrictions and rules of the physical world.

In 2009 and since, Facebook was banned by China due to its inability to comply with censorship rules. Facebook was also blocked in Iran and Syria at the same time. Facebook has been blocked intermittently since.

In 2020 in 2020, the Trump administration attempted to pass an identical ban against TikTok however, the plan was rejected by a federal court and eventually revoked by the Biden administration one year later.

In spite of various roadblocks and bans, it's clear that social media platforms have sunk into the daily lives (and into the devices) of users across the globe. And as the global internet connection increases, so too will the number of social media users.


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