top social media platforms

Top 10 Most Popular Social Media Platforms

Whether one likes it or not, social media plays a big and growing role in our everyday life. Millions upon millions of people share, like, chat, view, post, and befriend through the various social media platforms every day. But not all social media platforms are equally popular and used.

The following ranking lists the currently most popular social media platforms in the world, based on active registered users.

Note: Messenger apps (such as WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) are not counted here.

The 10 Most Popular Social Media Platforms 2022

top social media platforms

1. Facebook

facebook - most popular social media platform

~ 2.9 billion users

Launched in: 2004
Owned by: Meta Platforms, Inc.

With around 2.9 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the by far most popular social media platform in the world. Facebook was launched in 2004 by then Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg, alongside his roommates at Harvard, first intended to create a photo-sharing platform exclusively for Harvard students. Later they also extended the membership possibility to students of the other Ivy League schools. In 2006, Facebook then became free for all and quickly became popular in practically every corner of the world. Today, around 1/3 of the world’s entire human population has a Facebook account.

2. YouTube

~ 2.6 billion users

Launched in: 2005
Owned by: Alphabet, Inc.

YouTube is primarily and originally a video-sharing platform. However, the platform has evolved into a social media platform and community with now around 2.6 billion active users over the years. YouTube was launched in 2005 by three former PayPal employees. The site quickly became a success and only one year later, in 2006, it was bought by Google for around $1.7 billion. YouTube today is still owned by Google (more precisely by Alphabet, the parent company behind Google) and still the by far biggest video-sharing website on the internet.

3. Instagram

~ 1.5 billion users

Launched in: 2010
Owned by: Meta Platforms, Inc.

Instagram was developed and launched in 2010 by Stanford University students Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The app was originally a photo-sharing platform that quickly became massively popular. In its first year of existence, Instagram already had 10 million users on its platform. In 2012 Facebook then bought Instagram for exactly $1 billion. The popularity of the platform has increased even more rapidly ever since. Today, Instagram has around 1.5 billion active registered users all over the globe. It isn’t merely a photo-sharing or video-sharing platform these days, as a whole lifestyle has developed around this social media platform by now.

4. WeChat

wechat - chinese social media platform

~ 1.3 billion users

Launched in: 2011
Owned by:
Tencent Ltd

If you don’t live in China, chances are you have never heard, let alone used WeChat. But the Chinese platform indeed also belongs to the world’s largest and most popular social media platforms. Founded and owned by Chinese technology giant Tencent, WeChat has currently around 1.3 billion active users. Approximately 90% of those live in China. There, WeChat is more than just a social media platform. It has become a super app and “app for everything”. Chinese users use WeChat to share pictures and videos, communicate, play games, and even pay electronically.

WeChat is far less popular outside of China, mainly due to the strict censorship on the platform and also its privacy issues (the Chinese government uses the platform for its mass surveillance operation).

5. TikTok

~ 1.0 billion users

Launched in: 2016
Owned by: ByteDance Ltd.

Launched only in 2016, TikTok has grown as fast as no other social media platform before and now already boasts over a billion users. TikTok was developed by Beijing-based Chinese company ByteDance. It is a video-sharing platform where users can easily create and share short videos of them lip-syncing, putting out messages, or other content of comedic or otherwise entertaining nature. Originally, TikTok was meant only for Chinese users. Only after merging with the similar platform, did the platform then become open to users from all over the world.

6. Kuaishou

~ 580 million users

Launched in: 2011
Owned by: Beijing Kuaishou Technology Co., Ltd.

Kuaishou is known as the “original TikTok” as it has invented the short clip concept that TikTok followed and is based on. Kuaishou for a long time failed to make a big impact outside of its native China, but that has been changing somewhat in recent years. While still not as big globally as TikTok, Kuaishou now also belongs to the world’s most popular social media platforms.

7. Sina Weibo

~ 570 million users

Launched in: 2009
Owned by: Sina Corporation

Sina Weibo is sometimes dubbed the “Chinese Twitter”. Like Twitter, Sina Weibo is a micro-blogging platform and is also similar in layout and style. But despite being practically only active on the Chinese market, it now has more active users than its American equivalent. Sina Weibo was launched in 2009 by American-born Taiwanese-American actor, rapper, and entrepreneur Pan Weibo. It has since been sold to the Chinese Sina Corporation.

8. Snapchat

~ 560 million users

Launched in: 2011
Owned by: Snap Inc.

Snapchat combines features of a typical social media platform with that of an instant messaging app. Launched in 2011, it is also known as the inventor of the “Story” feature that lets users post short clips from their lives or of other things. Other social media platforms, such as Instagram, have since copied it and implemented it into their own platforms. While user growth has halted somewhat in recent years, Snapchat remains one of the most popular social media platforms.

9. Pinterest

~ 450 million users

Launched in: 2009
Owned by: Pinterest, Inc.

Pinterest is all about the visual factor of a social media platform. Launched in 2009, the platform remains unique among the most popular social media platforms. It lacks some of the features that characterize most other social media platforms and instead it focuses almost entirely on the image and video sharing aspects of social media.

10. Twitter

~ 440 million users

Launched in: 2006
Owned by:
Twitter, Inc.

Twitter was launched in 2006 and is often credited as being the internet’s first micro-blogging site. The social media platform allows users to share short messages as well as images and videos. Twitter is also known as the preferred social media platform used by politicians, world leaders, and celebrities around the world. This makes even people who are not active on the platform oftentimes browse its content.

The 10 Most Popular Social Media Platforms 2022

(as of April 2022)

Top 10 Most Popular Social Media Platforms:
2.9 billion users
2.6 billion users
1.5 billion users
1.3 billion users
1.0 billion users
580 million users
570 million users
560 million users
450 million users
440 million users

Top 10 most popular social media platforms in the world, based on the number of active registered users.

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