The World’s Most Popular Social Networks, and Who Owns Them

The World’s Most Popular Social Networks, and Who Owns Them

Currently, there are over 4.5 billion people around the world who use some form of social media—about 57% of the global population.

Yet, while social media’s audience is widespread and diverse, just a handful of companies control a majority of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook, owns four of the five most widely used platforms.

This graphic highlights the biggest social networks across the globe, measured by their monthly active users (MAUs).

Note: We’ll be using terms like “social network” and “social platform” interchangeably to refer to various messaging, video, and image-sharing platforms that have social attributes built in.

Top Social Platforms by Monthly Active Users

To measure each platform’s MAUs, we dug into various sources, including the most recent company SEC filings, and quarterly earnings reports.

A majority of Meta’s user base comes from its most popular platform, Facebook—the social media giant currently has around 2.9 billion MAUs worldwide.

Rank Platform name Parent company Country Monthly active users, in millions
#1 Facebook Meta 🇺🇸 U.S. 2,910
#2 YouTube Alphabet 🇺🇸 U.S. 2,291
#3 WhatsApp Meta 🇺🇸 U.S. 2,000
#4 Messenger Meta 🇺🇸 U.S. 1,300
#5 Instagram Meta 🇺🇸 U.S. 1,287
#6 WeChat Tencent 🇨🇳 China 1,225
#7 Kuaishou Kuaishou 🇨🇳 China 1,000
#8 TikTok Bytedance 🇨🇳 China 1,000
#9 Telegram Telegram 🇦🇪 UAE 600
#10 Qzone Tencent 🇨🇳 China 600
#11 QQ Tencent 🇨🇳 China 591
#12 Weibo Sina 🇨🇳 China 566
#13 Douyin Bytedance 🇨🇳 China 550
#14 Snapchat Snap 🇺🇸 U.S. 538
#15 Twitter Twitter 🇺🇸 U.S. 463
#16 Pinterest Pinterest 🇺🇸 U.S. 454
#17 Reddit Reddit 🇺🇸 U.S. 430
#18 LinkedIn Microsoft 🇺🇸 U.S. 310
#19 Quora Quora 🇺🇸 U.S. 300
#20 Skype Microsoft 🇺🇸 U.S. 300
#21 Tieba Baidu 🇨🇳 China 300
#22 Viber Rakuten 🇯🇵 Japan 250
#23 Teams Microsoft 🇺🇸 U.S. 250
#24 imo PageBites 🇺🇸 U.S. 212
#25 Line Naver 🇰🇷 South Korea 169
#26 Picsart Picsart 🇺🇸 U.S. 150
#27 Likee Bigo Live 🇸🇬 Singapore 150
#28 Discord Discord 🇺🇸 U.S. 140

Where in the world are Facebook users located? The platform’s biggest user base comes from India, with an 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 with 142.5 million.

But Facebook isn’t the only social giant in Meta’s network of platforms. WhatsApp has approximately 2 billion MAUs, making it Meta’s second-largest platform, and the third-largest social network overall.

Like Facebook, a significant number of WhatsApp users are located in India, with roughly 390 million users. Brazil has a large portion of WhatsApp users as well, with an audience size of 108 million.

The Billion Users Club

Meta currently dominates the social network landscape, with a combined total of 7.5 billion MAUs across all four of its platforms. However, a few other companies also hit the one billion MAU mark across all their platforms on the list:

Rank Parent company # of companies on the list Country Combined MUAs
1 Meta 4 🇺🇸 U.S. 7.5 billion
2 Tencent 3 🇨🇳 China 2.4 billion
3 Alphabet 1 🇺🇸 U.S. 2.3 billion
4 Bytedance 2 🇨🇳 China 1.6 billion
5 Kuaishou 1 🇨🇳 China 1 billion

After Meta, Tencent has the second-highest reach thanks to its three platforms—WeChat, Qzone, and QQ. Of the three, WeChat is currently the most popular. On average, WeChat users send about 45 billion messages a day.

Third on the list is Alphabet, thanks to its one platform, YouTube. Founded in 2005, this video streaming platform currently has over 50 million content creators, who share approximately 500 hours of video content every minute.

Close behind Alphabet is Bytedance, with a combined 1.6 billion MAUs across its two platforms—Douyin and its international counterpart TikTok. While the apps share a lot of similarities, they function as completely separate entities, with different registration, content policies, and regulations.

Global Social Networks? Not Always

While social media networks often transcend country borders, it’s worth noting that the online realm does not completely escape the constraints and regulations of our physical world.

Since 2009, Facebook has been banned in China for not complying 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 tried to enact a similar ban against TikTok, but the order was blocked by a federal judge and eventually revoked by the Biden administration a year later.

Despite various bans and roadblocks, it’s clear that social media platforms have seeped into the lives (and onto the screens) of users across the globe. And as internet access worldwide continues to grow, so too will the number of social media users.