Review of the Top 10 Social Networks ranked by number of active users 2017

Are you curious which are the largest social media networks and if Facebook is still a leader in the social media field? Interesting times are yet to come. So here’s what I found after digging down for over a week.

The article appeared first on LinkedIn Pulse at

Based on the eBizMBA Inc. stats for February, 2017 Facebook is still the number 1 most popular social media network in the world, but for how long?

What I really found interesting during my research was almost none of the articles or stats online even mention the Chinese giants Tencent QQ and WeChat which both have more active users than almost all claimed for being the most popular 10 social media networks.

Here are just a few examples to proof my statement:

Let’s crunch into the numbers!

  1. — 1.87 billion registered active users(as of January, 2017)

Facebook is still ahead of its competitors. Mark Zuckerberg’s acquisitions also show how brilliant this young man is. Based on the Forbes stats, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is $56.2 billion making him America’s richest entrepreneur under 40 and the 4th richest person on the planet!

As we go through the stats, you will see that 4 of the Facebook Inc. owned applications are at the top 10 of the largest social media networks in 2017! Here’s a documentary made by Bloomberg about Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook smart decisions to become the largest social media network to ever surpass 1 billion active users:

2. WhatsApp — Over 1 billion registered active users (as of January, 2017)

More than 1 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family, anytime and anywhere. WhatsApp is free and offers simple, secure, reliable messaging and calling, available on phones all over the world.

WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton who had previously spent 20 years combined at Yahoo. WhatsApp joined Facebook in 2014, but continues to operate as a separate app with a laser focus on building a messaging service that works fast and reliably anywhere in the world.

An interesting fact about Jan Koum and Brian Acton is back in 2007 when they tried to get jobs at Facebook, but they were both rejected!

3. Facebook Messenger — Over 1 billion registered active users (as of January, 2017)

Not surprisingly, the Facebook Messenger takes the third place with over 1 billion registered active users. After all, everyone using Facebook chats with their friends and relatives.

4. Tencent QQ — 877+ million registered active users(as of January, 2017)

QQ is an instant messaging (IM) platform for PC and mobile. It provides comprehensive online communication functions, supporting text messaging, instant video and voice chat as well as online and offline file transmission, building a complete, diversified cross platform communication for end users. Since its release in 1999, QQ has become a key mode of both personal and business communications, connecting hundreds of millions of users in China. With its full suite of communication, social entertainment, payment and hardware capabilities, QQ is China’s largest IM platform. As of the third quarter of 2016, QQ had 877 million monthly active user accounts and more than 250 million people were using QQ simultaneously at one time.

5. WeChat — 846+ million registered active users (as of January, 2017)

Launched in 2011, Weixin/WeChat has been enhancing the lives of hundreds of millions users with its innovative features. The platform integrates instant messaging and social entertainment, bringing about a mobile digital lifestyle on an easy to use app. Users get to engage in real-time communications via free text and multimedia messages, make video calls or share photos on their “Moments”. Other lifestyle recreational features include “Games”, “Sticker Gallery”, and convenient friend-adding services such as “Shake” and “People Nearby”.

Continuously evolving around users’ needs, Weixin/WeChat also offers enterprises “Official Accounts” to create original consumer experiences through its open platform and extended services such as Weixin/WeChat Pay for a truly mobile digital lifestyle. Weixin/WeChat reached more than 846 million monthly active user accounts as of the third quarter of 2016. Weixin/WeChat has evolved into a connector and open platform across industries, connecting users with one another, with smart devices and with business services.

Here’s a documentary made by Discovery Channel about the WeChat platform:

6. Qzone — 632+ million registered active users (as of January, 2017)

Qzone is a social networking platform that fulfills users’ needs of self-expression, peer interaction and entertainment. It aspires to create an open platform with third-party partners, providing quality personalized social services to hundreds of millions of Chinese Internet users. In the third quarter of 2016, Qzone reached more than 632 million monthly active user accounts.

7. Instagram — 600+ million registered active users (as of December, 2016)

Who stays behind the Instagram phenomenon?

Kevin Systrom (@kevin) is the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, a community of more than 600 million who capture and share the world’s moments on the service. He is responsible for the company’s overall vision and strategy as well as day-to-day operations.

Since the beginning, Kevin has focused on simplicity and inspiring creativity through solving problems with thoughtful product design. As a result, Instagram has become the home for visual storytelling for everyone from celebrities, newsrooms and brands, to teens, musicians and anyone with a creative passion.

Prior to founding Instagram, Kevin was part of the startup Odeo, which later became Twitter, and spent two years at Google working on products like Gmail and Google Reader. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Management Science & Engineering and serves on the boards of Walmart and KCRW.

Mike Krieger (CTO, co-founder)

Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) is the CTO and co-founder of Instagram, a global community that shares more than 95 million photos every day. As the head of engineering, Mike focuses on building products that bring out the creativity in all of us.

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Mike holds an MS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. Prior to founding Instagram, he worked at Meebo as a user experience designer and front-end engineer.

Quick Recap:

The above top 7 largest social media networks in the world are only by only 2 companies:

  • Facebook Inc. — owns 4 of them
  • The Chinese internet giant — Tencent owns 3 of them

Isn’t that interesting? Will at any point of time any of these large corporations allow another company/app/platform to overcome their numbers? In my opinion, this won’t happen anytime soon.

8. Tumblr — 550+ million registered active users (as of January, 2017) has gained prominence in recent years as a micro blogging platform which has allowed hundreds of millions of people around the world to share whatever they like. The reason for the site’s popularity is that you don’t need to write long blog posts in order to stand a chance of getting noticed. If you take photos then you can share them with the world, likewise if you find something funny online then again you can share it with the world. This platform originated from one man, David Karp and his lead developer Marco Arment. In 2013, Yahoo Inc. acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash.

Check out the David Karp’s interview for TechCrunch:

9. LinkedIn — 467+ million registered users has a total of 467+ registered users. Based on the reputable statistics website Statista, LinkedIn currently has a bit over 106 million active monthly users. However, in my list LinkedIn takes the 9th place for the largest social media networks in 2017.

Here’s a breakdown of the LinkedIn registered members based on their region:

  • 148M+ EMEA
  • 110M+ Europe
  • 105M+ Asia and the Pacific
  • 65M+ LATAM
  • 20M+ MENA
  • 20M+ Southeast Asia

The site officially launched on May 5, 2003 and it was officially acquired by Microsoft for $26+ billion in 2016.

Check out Bill Gates thoughts for Bloomberg on LinkedIn and how it may be make LinkedIn as successful as Facebook is:

10. Twitter — 313+ million registered active monthly users (as of June, 2016)

Twitter began as an idea that Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@Jack) had in 2006. Dorsey had originally imagined Twitter as an SMS-based communications platform. Groups of friends could keep tabs on what each other were doing based on their status updates. Like texting, but not.

During a brainstorming session at the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey proposed this SMS based platform to Odeo’s co-founder Evan Williams (@Ev). Evan, and his co-founder Biz Stone (@Biz) by extension, gave Jack the go-ahead to spend more time on the project and develop it further.

In its early days, Twitter was referred to as “twttr”. At the time, a popular trend, sometimes to gain domain name advantage, was to drop vowels in the name of their companies and services. Software developer Noah Glass (@Noah) is credited with coming up with the original name twttr as well as its final incarnation as Twitter.

To recap, some of the key early players in Twitter’s history are Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

Here’s a quick snapshot from Statista information on the largest social networks for 2017(in millions):

About the Author:

Vladimir Ninov, MBA is Managing Director and Owner of — a digital marketing boutique that helps marketers, journalists, entrepreneurs, agencies, and enterprises with growth hacking, consulting, and branding awareness online.