WhatsApp vs Facebook — biggest social platforms in South Africa

World Wide Worx and Ornico have released the 2021 Social Media Landscape report, which revealed a big increase in social media uptake in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It found that there are 25 million active social media users in South Africa, up by 3 million (13.6%) from last year.

Of these, 24.63 million — 98.5% — access social media services from their mobile phones.

“As everywhere in the world, South Africans have needed to take a new approach to staying connected while staying apart. The result was a surge in both online access and social media use,” said Arthur Goldtsuck, the MD of World Wide Worx.

Arthur Goldstuck
Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx MD

Goldstuck noted that the growth in social media use correlates closely with the total number of active mobile data users on the Vodacom and MTN networks.

“It is also clear that most growth in Internet use — and therefore social media use — is via mobile devices,” said Goldstuck.

There were few surprises in the reported usage share of social apps, with WhatsApp reigning supreme, followed closely by YouTube and Facebook.

An exception worth noting is that the study found Telegram to be used by 19.7% of South African internet users aged 16 to 64.

TikTok remained the fastest growing social platform in South Africa, with the report citing its simple user interface as a major driving factor.

TGI/askafrika gathered the data through interviews with 24,000 respondents aged 15 and over who live in urban areas with 8000 or more inhabitants.

The data is collected in two waves of 12,000 interviews each and is collected over a 10-month period, through continuous fieldwork and data released every six months, to ensure they remain abreast of changes and trends.

The researchers noted that the statistics below are breakdowns of the active social media population and not the population as a whole.

Social Media Landscape Report — 2021
Social network Users in South Africa
Facebook 27 million
YouTube 24 million (15.87 million active users)
Instagram Over 10 million
Twitter 9.3 million
TikTok 9 million
LinkedIn 8.4 million
Snapchat Under 7 million

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WhatsApp vs Facebook — biggest social platforms in South Africa