Last year has witnessed a surge in the number of social media users, with billions of people spending more time than ever on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube amid the lockdowns. However, the world’s largest social media platforms continued their growth in 2021 with no signs of stopping in the years to come.
According to data presented by StockApps, the combined number of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram users, as the three most popular social media platforms globally, is expected to hit 5.7 billion this year. The increasing trend is set to continue in the following years, with the number of users growing by another 800 million to 6.5 billion in 2023.
340 Million New Facebook Users in Three Years
As the leading social media app worldwide, Facebook has witnessed a remarkable growth of its user base. In 2019, the popular social media platform had over 2.1 billion million active users, revealed the Statista Key Market Indicators data. After the pandemic struck and millions of people started spending more time indoors and online, the number of Facebook users rose to nearly 2.3 billion. This figure is expected to hit 2.4 billion in 2021. By 2023, the number of people using Facebook is forecast to hit 2.63 billion, a 340 million increase in three years.
The Statista data showed Asia is the region with the biggest Facebook audience worldwide. In 2021, there were over 1.1 billion Facebook users across all Asian markets, and this figure is projected to grow to 1.24 billion in 2023. The Americas and Europe follow, with 665 million and 385 million users as of this year.
However, the world’s second-largest social media platform, YouTube, witnessed even more impressive growth. Last year, around 2.1 billion people worldwide had been using YouTube. India accounted for the biggest share of that number, with 373 million users in 2020. The United States and Brazil followed with 205 million and 145 million users, respectively.
Statista data indicated the number of people using YouTube is set to jump to 2.24 billion in 2021 and continue growing to 2.56 billion in 2023, a 15% increase in two years.
Instagram Witnessed the Biggest User Growth
Although Facebook and YouTube convincingly lead in the number of users, Instagram, as the third most popular social media platform in 2021, is the most rapidly evolving.
Instagram’s user growth has been consistent and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Last year, the photo and video-sharing social networking app hit 926 million users, an impressive 140 million increase in a year. Also, according to Sensor Tower data, Instagram was among the top five most downloaded apps in both the App Store and via Google Play last year.
In 2021, Instagram`s user base is forecast to hit over one billion for the first time, a massive milestone that was seemingly only reserved for social media giants like Facebook. By 2023, the number of people using Instagram is expected to grow by another 23% and hit 1.3 billion worldwide.
Google to Introduce Strike-Based System to Clamp Down on Advertisers Violating Google Ads Policies
The world’s leading search engine Google on announced it will introduce a new strike-based system to clamp down on advertisers who repeatedly violate the company’s ads policies.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the tech giant said the new strike based system would be introduced in September 2021, to be precise it said implementation of the new system will commence on September 21, 2021, “with a gradual ramp up over a period of 3 months, for the following policies: Enabling dishonest behavior, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons, and Tobacco.”
“The policy coverage of the strike-based system will be expanded to add additional policies in phases over time and advertisers will be notified each time new policies are brought within scope of the strike-based system.
“Please note that this update does not impact the account suspension procedures for egregious Google Ads policy violations.”
To help ensure a safe and positive experience for users, Google requires advertisers to comply with Google Ads policies. As a part of the Google Ads enforcement system, Google will begin issuing strikes to advertisers, which will be accompanied by email notifications and in-account notifications to encourage compliance and deter repeat violations of our policies.
An advertiser’s first policy violation will only result in a warning. But advertisers will earn their first strike if we detect continued violation of our policies. Advertisers will be able to receive a maximum of three strikes, and the penalties applied with each strike will progressively increase. Temporary account holds will be applied for the first and second strikes (for 3 and 7 days respectively), while the third strike will result in an account suspension.
An advertiser placed on a temporary account hold will be required to remedy the violations in question and to submit an acknowledgement form to resume serving ads. Following this acknowledgement, their account will be released from the temporary account hold state either 3 days after the first strike was issued, or after 7 days for a second strike. Advertisers can also appeal a strike decision if they believe it was issued in error. Ads will resume serving immediately after successfully appealing the strike. Accounts will remain on temporary hold if no action is taken by the advertiser to either acknowledge or appeal a strike. Strikes will remain on the Google Ads account for 90 days unless they’re successfully appealed.
Accounts suspended following a third strike will not be able to run any ads or create new content unless the suspension is successfully appealed. Learn more about suspended accounts.
Twitter to Let Retailers Add Products to Their Profiles in Shopping Push
Twitter Inc. will let a handful of retailers, including GameStop Corp. and bag company Arden Cove, promote products on their company profiles as part of a renewed push into shopping.
A dozen U.S. retailers will be able to market up to five products at the top of their Twitter profiles. Users can swipe between products and click to visit the retailer’s website to make a purchase.
Twitter isn’t processing the sales and won’t take a cut of any revenue generated by the new feature, but investors cheered the move, sending the shares on their biggest rally in more than three months. The stock climbed as much as 5.3 percent to $71.92 in New York on Wednesday.
The company has been teasing its interest in shopping for months, aiming to catch up with other social media platforms that offer e-commerce options.
“We know people come to Twitter to interact with brands and discuss their favorite products,” Bruce Falck, the head of Twitter’s revenue product team, said at the company’s analyst day in February. “Imagine easily discovering and quickly purchasing a new skin-care product or trendy sneaker from a brand you follow, with only a few clicks.”
But shopping has been a challenge on social media platforms, including Twitter. The company has built commerce products in the past, including a “buy button” unveiled back in 2014 and later product catalogs, but those features never took off and were eventually shut down.
Twitter’s renewed interest in shopping aligns with a general push into e-commerce by retailers who were forced to move sales online during the pandemic. At Twitter, the thought is that e-commerce could also benefit its core business — advertising — by helping brands make real sales from the platform. Facebook Inc. has also made commerce a bigger priority since the start of the pandemic.
Twitter’s new product, called “Shop Module,” is only available to English-language users in the U.S. for now.
FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC
The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.
The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.
The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.
Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.
In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.
Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.
But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.
“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.
“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.
“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.
The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.
The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.
It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.
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