There are over half a billion more social network users around the world

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Facebook ranks second among the platforms preferred by internet users worldwide, apart from in China, with 22% of positive responses, according to the We Are Social study.

It's an impressive figure. A study has demonstrated the exceptional growth of social media in the world: in one year, more than half a billion users joined a social platform or network over the 12-month period. In China alone, new users on social networks have reached 85 million in the last twelve months.

On average, more than 1.4 million users per day joined social media in the past year, explained The Digital Report April 2021 of We Are Social according to an analysis by Kepios. A growth of almost 14% compared to last year, which is equivalent to 16.5 new users per second worldwide.

Staying in touch

Incredible figures that bring the total number of users on social media worldwide to 4.33 billion, or more than half of the world's population, We Are Social reported. At the beginning of April, the world's population stood at 7.85 billion, 1% more than at the same time last year, the study said.

While these figures are impressive, they are logical given the global health crisis that has forced people to use other means of communication rather than in-person meetings. This is the main explanation for this increased online social activity, as demonstrated by the study. "Staying in touch with friends and family" received 49.7% of positive opinions from the 16-64 year olds questioned in this survey.

Women have less access to the internet in South Asia

Internet usage has also increased worldwide with 332 million additional users in the last 12 months, representing a 7.6% year-on-year growth. Now, 6 out of 10 people in the world have internet access, which represents 4.72 billion people connected in April 2021.

According to the We Are Social report, while the number of users with access to the internet has continued to grow significantly over the past year, disparities still exist across the world. While more than 9 out of 10 people use the Internet in Northern and Western Europe and North America, more than 3 out of 4 people in East Africa still do not have access, the study says.

Women are particularly affected by this lack of internet access. They make up the majority of the unconnected population, especially in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, We Are Social said. These countries are the only ones in the South Asian region where more than a billion people still do not have access to the web.

85 million new users in China

However in terms of real figures and not proportions, the study shows that South Asia has twice as many internet users as North America. Some 6.3% of the world's internet users live in the United States, compared to over 13% in India and up to 21% in China. In terms of social media, China has gained 85 million new users in the last 12 months.

WhatsApp is the world's favorite social media platform

According to the Global Web Index survey on which the We Are Social study was based, WhatsApp is the winner as the world's favorite social platform with 24.1% of positive responses from internet users aged between 16 and 64. For this survey, China was left out of the dataset, We Are Social notes.

It should be noted that YouTube was also left out of this survey as it is considered a video platform. Despite the incredible popularity of TikTok , the Chinese platform only comes in fourth position, but this can be explained by the age of the respondents: 16 was the youngest age of those surveyed.

Sabrina Alili