Over four in ten of world’s population use social media — study

/ 04:00 PM January 31, 2018

Images: PeopleImages/IStock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Our planet currently has over four billion internet users, three-quarters of whom are active on social media, according to the new Digital in 2018 report published by creative agency We Are Social and social media management platform Hootsuite.

In January 2018, there were 4.021 billion internet users across the globe, more than half (53 percent) of the world’s population. In the space of one year, internet user numbers have grown by around 250 million (+7 percent). Growth in Africa was a spectacular 20 percent.


Northern Europe notched up the highest internet penetration rate, with 94 percent of the population online, just ahead of Western Europe’s 90 percent. The rate was 88 percent in North America and 74 percent in Eastern Europe. In contrast, it was only 12 percent in Central Africa.

Unsurprisingly, social networks are particularly popular with internet users, wherever they live. The number of subscribers totaled 3.196 billion, which is 42 percent of the global population. North America had the highest social media penetration rate (70 percent), ahead of Northern Europe (66 percent) and East Asia (64 percent). Here too, Central Africa had the lowest rate (6 percent). Looking at the figures in more detail, in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates an exceptionally high 99 percent of the population are active on social media, to be compared with only 0.06 percent in North Korea.


Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the world, with over 2.1 billion users. It’s ahead of YouTube (1.5 billion), WhatsApp and Messenger (1.3 billion each). They are followed by WeChat (980 million), QQ (843 million) and Instagram (800 million).

This report brings together data from partners such as GlobalWebIndex, GSMA Intelligence, Statista, Locowise and SimilarWeb. JB


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TOPICS: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Social Media, WhatsApp, Youtube
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