WhatsApp is a dominant force in the world — particularly outside of the United States. As the primary method for communicating and source for news in some countries, WhatsApp is an integral part of the digital landscape. Understanding WhatsApp and its role in the online experience is vital to better understanding the function of social services in the everyday lives of people around the world.
WhatsApp has been blocked in some of the world’s most restrictive countries and acted as a vital communication tool for people in dangerous and deadly situations. Here are the top ten WhatsApp statistics that speak to its incredible power, influence, and ability to affect change by connecting people across the globe.
For context, Facebook (WhatsApp’s owner) averaged 1.32 billion daily active users in June 2017, just barely edging out WhatsApp globally.
WhatsApp user statistics speak to its domination of global communications. The vast majority of WhatsApp users are using the app daily, but its 1.3 billion monthly active users as of July 2017 more accurately represent its total regular user base.
Though Facebook saw just over 2 billion monthly active users in June 2017, Facebook Messenger saw 1.2 billion monthly active users in April 2017.
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WhatsApp is used to send 55 billion messages from its more than one billion users every day. Most messages sent with WhatsApp are of the text variety, but 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion videos are shared with WhatsApp each day.
WhatsApp message statistics are proof that its users don’t engage with the app lightly — they’re sending a lot of messages and relying on it for serious communication needs.
WhatsApp is about more than just sending and receiving messages, though. The tool is used to make 100 million voice calls every day. In some countries, WhatsApp is a primary method of communication and its users depend on it for calling, texting, and sending media to one another.
In its second quarter financial report for 2017, Facebook revealed that WhatsApp’s Stories feature now has 250 million daily active users.
WhatsApp Stories is something like Snapchat in that it allows users to share ephemeral messages with others, and though WhatsApp may not be as popular as Instagram in the United States, WhatsApp Stories has caught up to Instagram Stories, which now also sees 250 million daily active users according to Facebook.
A Reuters Institute study of 71,805 respondents in 30 countries found that WhatsApp is becoming a major source for news in several countries, most notably Malaysia, where 51% of the study’s sample said that they used WhatsApp to get news.
In the United States, though, just 3% of respondents said that they got their news from WhatsApp. Of nearly 72,000 respondents in all markets, 15% said that they used WhatsApp for news. Eight percent said that they used Facebook Messenger, 2% used Snapchat and Viber, and 1% used WeChat.
SimilarWeb studied 187 countries to find the most popular messaging apps in the world. WhatsApp came in at #1, deemed the most popular in 109 of the 187 countries, or 55.6% of the world. Facebook Messenger nabbed second place, claiming the top spot in 49 countries, including the United States.
As the most widely used messaging app, WhatsApp is also the most blocked communication tool. Popular in many countries that are considered only “partially free” or “not free,” WhatsApp has been blocked by governments that censor information by targeting messaging apps.
67% of internet users live in countries where they may encounter censorship as a result of criticizing authority. WhatsApp is the app that’s most frequently targeted, with 12 of 65 countries blocking some or all of its features. In eleven countries, users have been arrested for WhatsApp content. Though Facebook was only blocked in 8 of 65 countries, content on Facebook lead to arrests in 27 countries.
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Though WhatsApp is the top messaging app in the majority of countries in the world, Facebook still comes in as the most used messaging app worldwide, particularly among Millennials. That said, it’s not in first place by much. 56% of Millennials are Facebook Messenger members and 55% of Millennials are WhatsApp members.
Though Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp seem to be neck-and-neck for usage, there’s a fair amount of overlap, too. 7 in 10 WhatsApp users are also Facebook Messenger users on a regular basis. In Latin America alone, that number widens to 8 in 10.