The World’s Biggest Social Media and Messaging Apps Visualized

Social media used to seem like an unstoppable force that would inevitably manage to rule the whole world, but in spite of the fact that this is the case recent years have shown that this industry is not immune to controversy and the financial fallout that can occur in its wake. 2016’s fiery election that saw the divisive Donald Trump rise to the US presidency, followed by the Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica Scandal, proved to be the first of many cracks to come.

One thing that has become apparent in 2022 is that the landscape of social media has become a lot more diverse. New players like TikTok have now entered the fray, and they are upsetting the delicate balance that so many social media platforms had relied on in the past. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that Meta’s social media platforms still reign supreme thanks to their enormous user base that is on a global scale.

However, smaller platforms have also been making an entry with all things having been considered and taken into account. Facebook is at the top of the list in terms of monthly active users with 2.9 billion, followed by YouTube which has about 2.3 billion. Coming in third is another Meta property, WhatsApp, which has approximately 2 billion active users per month.

Messenger and Instagram round off the top five list with 1.3 billion and 1.2 billion MAUs apiece. This means that the top five is dominated by Meta, with only YouTube managing to crack the top five and give the social media juggernaut some competition.

Once we exit the top five list, the list starts to become much more diversified than might have been the case otherwise. Tencent’s messaging app WeChat has 1.2 billion users. It is benefited by being the only accessible messaging platform in China because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up giving it unlimited exposure to the massive population in that country, but it has managed to crack the market in ways that other platforms failed to.

TikTok comes in at number 7 with 732 million MAUs, and the rapid growth of this platform might help it crack into the top five list in the near future. It will also be helped along by the ensuing decline of Meta, although it is facing stiffer competition from YouTube and only time will tell whether or not it will come out on top.

TikTok is then followed by Telegram with 700 million monthly active users. The top ten list is then rounded off by two more Chinese apps, namely Douyin which is the Chinese version of TikTok with 600 million users per month and QQ which is also owned by Tencent which has about 595 million MAUs.

The US and China are both producing social media and messaging apps that are able to crack the top 20. The only app that was created outside of these countries is Telegram, which indicates that China and the US will continue to dominate the social media landscape for many years to come unless the paradigm changes considerably.
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