This increased usage of social networks is due to the popularization of mobile technologies in the past decade and the increasing availability and affordability of mobile internet. Mobile social networking is one of the most popular activities on smartphones and tablets, along with text messaging, taking photos and videos or playing games. Some networks, such as Facebook, started out as web-based and then extended towards access through mobile browsers and smartphone apps, while other networks, such as Instagram, were initially mobile-only and later transitioned into cross-platform availability as well. An increasing number of social networks are therefore accessible through multiple platforms in order to offer users access to different features according to their needs, time and preferred device. There are however stark regional differences in use of mobile social networks. As of January 2017, some 58 percent of users in North America accessed social media via mobile while the global mobile social penetration rate was 34 percent.
On a worldwide scale, Facebook is the undeniable leader of social networks, with almost 2 billion active users around the world as of January 2017. Mark Zuckerberg’s invention is also increasingly accessed from mobile devices like no other social network website or application. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, some 1.15 billion Facebook users accessed the social network exclusively via mobile device, up from 823 million users in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Other popular mobile social networks are Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Twitter, while popular mobile chat apps include Whatsapp, WeChat, Kakaotalk and LINE.
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