Tech/Gadgets

Over four in 10 of world’s population use social media, study shows

Northern Europe has the highest internet penetration rate, with 94% of the population online, just ahead of Western Europe’s 90%. — AFP picNorthern Europe has the highest internet penetration rate, with 94% of the population online, just ahead of Western Europe’s 90%. — AFP picSAN FRANCISCO, Jan 31 — 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%) of the world’s population. In the space of one year, internet user numbers have grown by around 250 million (+7%). Growth in Africa was a spectacular 20 per cent.

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

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

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