A new report reveals social media’s expanding role across Africa, with Facebook still the dominant platform despite TikTok’s rising popularity.
The study by GeoPoll found over 384 million active social media users now exist on the continent. Facebook leads with 170 million users, comprising 44% of the total. It also boasts Africa’s highest engagement rate at 82%.
However, short-form video app TikTok is rapidly gaining ground with a 60% active user rate, ranking second over Instagram at 54%. Twitter and LinkedIn follow at 49% and 28%.
Platform preferences emerge across demographics. 68% of Facebook users use it for news and events, while 49% socialise. TikTok provides entertainment for 72% of its African audience and skills development for 61%.
Instagram drives trends and celebrity culture, with users following influencers and sharing photos. Twitter connects people around current affairs and discussions. LinkedIn serves professional networking and job seeking.
The report highlights social media’s growing clout in e-commerce and advertising, with 80% of respondents purchasing products seen on platforms. It also reveals most access via mobile, spending 3-6 hours daily on apps.
While concerns persist around harmful content, 61% believe social media has bettered their mental health. This indicates platforms can provide benefits if risks are addressed.
As social media expands its reach across Africa, its cultural and economic influence deepens. Companies must leverage their advertising power responsibly while ensuring protections for vulnerable groups. Policymakers face challenges governing emerging technologies spread through apps.
But with thoughtful regulation and ethical development, social media can empower African users, boost businesses, and encourage positive discourse. The continent’s digital future remains bright, as enhancing access and online safety remains paramount.