But which are the most popular platforms these days? In 2019, the leading social media site in France was YouTube, with Facebook being the platform scoring the highest daily user rate of 40 percent. It is safe to say that Facebook has been a strong competitor in the field over the years, recently acquiring other companies such as the photo-sharing platform Instagram and the messaging service Whatsapp. However, membership dropped following the Cambridge Analytica affair, which revealed that Facebook did not fully protect the personal data of its members in 2018, new platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok have made their way into the ocean of competitors and are growing rapidly.
Regarding the reason why so many French people use social networks, many cite just wanting to stay connected with friends and their environment. Especially in times of plight, social networks seem indispensable for engaging communication with friends, family or even strangers. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the end of February 2020, France faced a crisis. With adjustments for work and daily life taking place among the French population, the most downloaded social media applications during the confinement were Plato on the Apple store and Whatsapp on the Google Play store. On a wider scale, TikTok had a major increase in downloads, which was also true for the meeting and messaging software ZOOM Cloud Meetings.
This underlines the professional use of social networks by enterprises, not just as a means for coworkers to communicate with one another, but also for companies to build an online personality which interacts with potential customers. In 2018, Facebook and Twitter were the main platforms used by companies. In terms of promotion, brands have often leaned on influencers who are known to provide trusted advice about brands and products, on which their followers rely heavily. For them, Instragram was the platform with the highest engagement rate, making it the largest social network for influencer marketing. With new technologies such as photo recognition software and personalized shopping experiences, finding information, buying the product and having it delivered quickly has never been easier.
In 2019, even though social media platforms still recorded large user numbers, many users showed concerns over the spreading of fake information through social networks news feeds, the collecting of their personal data and the threat of cyber harassement.