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World Map of Social Networks 2017

world map of social networks

Italian writer, blogger and photographer Vincenzo Cosenza has put together a visualization showing the most popular social networks around the world. The world map of social networks 2017 is based on recent traffic data (January 2017).

As you can see from the social media map, Facebook has covered the western world. It is dominating most of the West, together with Africa, Middle-East and the Pacific region. With a user base of 1.94 billion and growing, the social media world map will probably look even bluer next year.

Check out related post: Top 10 Social Networking Sites by Market Share of Visits in US

Although Facebook is also growing in Russia, it is still dominated by Odnoklassniki and VKontakte (VK). I personally don’t see this situation changing any time soon either. They both support Russian alphabet and are strongly oriented on the Russian-speaking community. They are also widely used among Russian inhabitants in other Eastern European countries.

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Twitter is mainly dominant in Japan, with it’s main “advantage” being the possibility to stay totally anonymous – The people in Japan like to generally stay anonymous when surfing. Facebook’s privacy settings haven’t really been embraced there…

China’s QZone, when only usernames are concerned, is the biggest social network in Asia. QZone today has over 653 million users. Without a doubt, QZone is the biggest player in China and will probably stay that way for a long time as Facebook is banned in China.

You can find exact numbers in this post:
Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps

There are also a bunch of smaller players, being dominant in only one or two countries. But Facebook is changing that situation quite fast:

Facebook keep getting more countries.

world map of social networks second

Network effect and user’s time constraints force one social networking site to dominate the whole planet. Only large exceptions being relatively isolated countries.

So, China aside, Facebook is still growing. By the same time next year, we will probably see a social network map where Facebook is dominating most of the western hemisphere, together with the Middle-East and the Pacific. The only real players who are stopping Facebook from having a total “world dominance”, will probably be China’s QZone and V Kontakte in Russia.

And this is how the map looked like in June 2009

world map of social networks 2009

There are three big holdouts China, Russia, and China.

facebook in china june 2017Facebook in China

Facebook is banned in China since 2009. There are no signs that China would lift the ban anytime soon. While almost 2 billion people are using Facebook globally, there are another billion internet users simply cut off from it. Amazingly, there’s life without Facebook.

Still, in a country with more than billion people, some are ingenious enough to get past the Great Firewall of China. There are 5.3 million active monthly Facebook users in China.

facebook in russia june 2017Facebook in Russia

Russia has two local rivaling social networking sites, Vkontakte.ru (VK) and Odnoklassniki.ru (OK). Vkontakte (in contact) claims to have 95 million monthly active users on its home page. VK is a Facebook clone, and its dominance seems to be strengthened by the inward looking political atmosphere in the country.

But Facebook is not missing from Russia. It’s legal, and 25 million people use Facebook every month in Russia.

facebook in japan june 2017Facebook in Japan

Japan is the stronghold of Twitter. The only large group of people using predominantly Twitter. The estimate of Twitter users in Japan is around 40 million [source]. However, Facebook is not far behind. Numbers in the Facebook Ad tool suggest 33 million active users in Japan.

While it may take some time, Facebook will topple Twitter in Japan.

Network effect and telephones

Being on more than one social networking site is too time-consuming for most people. This means that as we get more connected globally, one site would emerge that dominates social networking worldwide. Right now it seems that this site will be Facebook. [I wrote this in 2009].

It is hard to say if there will be one global social networking company or a social networking infrastructure that will be managed by many competing companies. Economically there would be no point in breaking up the one dominant network. Politically, however, there’s a lot of people (organizations, nations) who wouldn’t want this much power and information concentrated in a single company.

In the end, the monopolistic telephone companies were broken into smaller competing firms. So, what do you think will happen with 2 or 3 billion user Facebook?

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Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

13 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    There are an increasing number of emerging social apps, for exapmle, sweetalk is a new discovery. It is argued that sweetalk for the moment is the best free transnational social tool with the function of instant translation, supporting online translation in thirty different languages and can make users learn the foreign language easily during the communication.

  2. Chris says:

    There are an increasing number of emerging social apps, for exapmle, sweetalk is a new discovery. For a long time, I have searched and tried different apps and most of the time, left disappointed and frustrated, until one day by accident, the sweetalk comes into my world. It is probably the best free transnational social tool with the function of instant translation, supporting online translation in 30 different languages and can make me learn the foreign language easily during the chat. My English is ok, so I would like to choose to send messages to the people whom I am interested in instead of my mother tongue for the purpose of improving my English better while talking. And there are a lot of lads and gals there from all walks of life around the globe(later the screenshot will be pasted). You don’t need to pay money for the VPN service, which is really fantastic for those who are eager to make friends from abroad and learn foreign language as well without the extra trouble. Of course, you can talk with the friends from your own country and if you cannot speak English well or those you want to send messages to fail to speak English, then here comes another feature of sweetalk, that is the instant translation of sweetalk. And it is foolproof to use.

  3. YangHe says:

    This is very interesting and give a big thumbs up for the research. I am a Chinese and I use QQ everyday, if people doing marketing in China, QQ is really a good tools to use bc all most everyone in China had register on QQ and using it for chat and business, but for some big company, I don’t think it will work, because sometimes we think QQ not professional.

  4. Ups , Priit Kallas, you are right!!
    My info -just few weeks old, aws already obsolete !!-
    the momentum of this socialmedia tsunami dynamics is amazing ; I had underestimated Facebook growth for Spain in my forecasts.
    … so just , forget about my comment,
    Congratulations again for the accurate and updated data. (It couls be interesting to update the charts every quarter and check relative evolutions)

  5. Priit Kallas says:

    @Nacho. Thanks for your comment! I checked Facebook for Spain and it gives “Estimate: 7,731,520 people who live in Spain”

  6. Very interesting and a good research work… despite it is not 100% accurate, at least regading Spain.
    In Spain, the most popular -in terms of number of users , with over 6,5 Million, and much more in term of minutes Per day, uploaded User generated contents, and conversations, – is Tuenti (www.tuenti.com )
    Pretty much focussed on the 14-23 years old segment, it is over growing such boundaries steadily.
    Facebook, being more general, is almost at the same level, but as of today, with the lates available data , Tuenti leads the pack.
    I miss in your map soe information about profesional networks such as Linkedin or Xing. Althoug more vertical and specialised are a ver powerful trend.
    anyway, Congratulations por mashing-up all that info together.

  7. Priit Kallas says:

    The interactive version of this map is here

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