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The most popular social networks in the world and who they belong to
Currently, more than 4.5 billion people around the world use some form of social media, or around 57% of the world’s population.
Yet while the social media audience is large and diverse, only a handful of companies control the majority of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook, owns four of the top five platforms.
This graph highlights the largest social networks across the world, as measured by their Monthly Active Users (MAU).
Note: We will use terms such as “social network” and “social platform” interchangeably to refer to various messaging, video, and image sharing platforms that have built-in social attributes.
Best social platforms by monthly active users
To measure each platform’s MAUs, we drew on a variety of sources, including the most recent SEC filings from companies and quarterly earnings reports.
The majority of Meta’s user base comes from its most popular platform, Facebook– the social media giant currently has around MAU 2.9 billion worldwide.
|Rank||Platform name||Head quarter||Country||Monthly active users, in millions|
|# 1||Meta||WE||2 910|
|# 2||Youtube||Alphabet||WE||2 291|
|# 8||TIC Tac||Byteance||China||1000|
|# 24||imo||Page bites||WE||212|
|# 25||Line||Naver||South Korea||169|
|# 27||I like||Bigo live||🇸🇬 Singapore||150|
Where in the world are Facebook users located? The platform’s largest user base is from India, with an audience of almost 350 million people. Its second-largest user base is the United States, with 193.9 million users, while Indonesia comes third with 142.5 million.
But Facebook isn’t the only social giant in the Meta platform network. WhatsApp has around 2 billion MAU, making it the second largest Meta platform and the third largest social network overall.
Like Facebook, a significant number of WhatsApp users are found in India, with around 390 million users. Brazil also has a large portion of WhatsApp users, with an audience size of 108 million.
The billion users club
Meta Currently dominates the social media landscape, with a combined total of MAU 7.5 billion across its four platforms. However, a few other companies have also hit the MAU billion mark across all of their listed platforms:
|Rank||Head quarter||# of companies on the list||Country||MUA combined|
After Meta, Tencent has the second highest range thanks to its three platforms: WeChat, Qzone and QQ. Of the three, WeChat is currently the most popular. On average, WeChat users send around 45 billion messages per day.
Third on the list is Alphabet, thanks to its unique platform, YouTube. Founded in 2005, this video streaming platform currently has over 50 million content creators, who share around 500 hours of video content. every minute.
Just behind Alphabet is Byteance, with 1.6 billion MAU combined on its two platforms: Douyin and its international counterpart TikTok. While the apps share many similarities, they operate as completely separate entities, with different registrations, content policies, and regulations.
Global social networks? Not always
While social media networks often transcend country borders, it should be noted that the online domain is not completely immune to the constraints and regulations of our physical world.
Since 2009, Facebook has been banned in China for failing to comply with censorship rules. Facebook was also blocked in Iran and Syria around the same time and has been blocked sporadically since.
In 2020, the Trump administration attempted to enact a similar ban against TikTok, but the order was blocked by a federal judge and ultimately revoked by the Biden administration a year later.
Despite various bans and roadblocks, it’s clear that social media platforms have infiltrated the lives (and screens) of users around the world. And as internet access around the world continues to grow, so will the number of social media users.