Facebook’s unlikely competition in South Africa

Facebook has established itself as the western world’s dominant social media platform.

While many other social media platforms have seen substantial growth in recent years, none have been able to challenge Mark Zuckerberg’s creation in terms of user numbers.

South Africans are also big Facebook fans. The platform has historically dominated the social media landscape in this country, with other companies fighting a battle for second place.

Popular social media platforms apart from Facebook in South Africa include Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Reddit.

However, according to StatCounter, another website poses a significant threat to Facebook’s position as the most popular social media platform in South Africa, and has even overtaken it for a brief period in the past.


Pinterest was launched in 2010 and is a social media platform which is primarily used as an image discovery service.

Almost 80% of Pinterest’s audience consists of women, and the platform is often used to source recipes, fashion advice, and home décor ideas.

GIFs and videos are also available on Pinterest, but are in significantly shorter supply than traditional images.

According to StatCounter, Pinterest is almost as popular as Facebook in South Africa. These statistics also show that Pinterest surpassed Facebook in March 2019, although it fell back below Facebook in May.

The rise of Pinterest’s South African market share has been swift. It had under 8% of the country’s social media market share in February 2016, before peaking at 47.42% in April 2019 – attaining nearly eight times the market share just over three years later.

In contrast, Facebook had 85.34% of South Africa’s social media market share in February 2016, before falling as low as 40.11% in April 2019.

As of May, 44.5% of social media usage takes place on Facebook, while 42.94% is on Pinterest.

Other prominent social media websites

Twitter is the third-most popular social media platform in South Africa, boasting 7.32% of the market as of May 2019.

Other prominent social media platforms include:

  • YouTube – 2.31%
  • Tumblr – 0.39%
  • Reddit – 0.19%

StatCounter’s data is based on aggregated data from two million websites with a combined sample size of 10 billion page views per month.

The market share of South Africa’s most popular social media platforms over the past 10 years can be viewed below.

Social media market share

Now read: The dangers lurking in tech company inboxes

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Facebook’s unlikely competition in South Africa