The lovechild of the World Wide Web and Society is social media, which comes in many forms, including blogs, forums, business networks, photo-sharing platforms, social gaming, microblogs, chat apps, and last but not least social networks. Research has been completed and the latest local figures have been shared.

Facebook remains the most popular platform in the country, with almost 30% of the population now connected. South Africa has about 16 million users of Facebook right now, 14 million of which access the site from mobile devices.

Johannesburg has the most activity, with five million users.

According to Goldstuck, there is a misconception that younger people are leaving Facebook; however, a demographic breakdown of the local user data shows that it’s just a case of the younger Facebook users getting older – simply put, they aren’t teenagers anymore.

How many people use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in South Africa 2

Local Twitter numbers grew marginally between 2016 and 2017, despite declines seen in places like the US, Goldstuck said. In August 2016 there were approximately 7.7 million South Africans on Twitter – by August 2017, this grew to about eight million users.

Tweeting activity in South Africa continues throughout the week, with the most popular day being Thursday. Twitter users tweet the most in the morning, between 8am and 9am, with a small peak again in the evenings at around 6pm.

Professional social network LinkedIn was the ‘quiet’ growth success story of 2017, with the platform growing its local numbers to 6.1 million users from 5.5 million in 2016.

Instagram has also seen significant growth, with its South African user numbers up 8.5% to 3.8 million users, however this is significantly slower than previous years, where local growth was in the double, or even triple digits.

While the YouTube numbers weren’t presented, Goldstuck said that, globally, the video platform has hit 1.3 billion active users. In South Africa, the average channel now has 250,000 subscribers, up from 36,000 in 2016, showing a major shift in local internet users’ consumption of media.

YouTube and Instagram are heading in the direction of the ‘big three’, Goldstuck said.

These were the top YouTube categories in South Africa this year:

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The numbers are outlined in the table below:

Platform 2016 2017
Facebook 13.5 million 16.0 million
Twitter 7.7 million 8.0 million
LinkedIn 5.5 million 6.1 million
Instagram 3.5 million 3.8 million