China trumps US as TikTok trumps Facebook – and Google and Microsoft and Apple and…

We all know that the United States and China are vying for the top spot in the world in economic and military terms, but also in the arena of the top Internet domain and the top social media (SM) network in terms of traffic. Who knows, maybe what we see with the last two foreshadows what we’ll soon see with the first two.

Social media traffic

In 2021, China’s TikTok finally did, overthrowing American behemoth Facebook, to become the top SM network in 2021 by traffic. TikTok first started showing signs of what was to come at the end of the 2020 period, then in March 2021, when it was number 1 for the month. Over the next six months, TikTok and Facebook jostled for the top position, with one leading one month and the other the next. But by September, it was all over, with TikTok clearly in the lead.

The top 10 rankings for 2020 and for 2021 show the changes in the top 10 positions. YouTube remained stable at number 3, but Twitter pushed Instagram from the number 4 spot (2020) to number 5 in 2021, with Twitter taking the number 4 spot in 2021. There was no change in the number 6 spots to 10, with the same SM networks appearing in 2020 and 2021, i.e.: 6 – Snapchat; 7-Reddit; 8 – Pinterest; 9 – LinkedIn; 10 – Quora. [All data was taken from the Cloudflare annual internet data reporting, which you can find here.]

Domain traffic

Please note that these are position scales only. Therefore, the amount of traffic is not reflected in the size of the scale items. They also do not reflect time spent on the app, or any other aspect of its use. So if you’re looking for monthly users, these aren’t the stats to look at. But they tell us something about what’s happening in the social media space – and the internet space, as TikTok also toppled Google in terms of domain traffic in 2021. It even overtook Facebook, Microsoft, Apple , Netflix and Amazon, as it climbed the ranks from seventh position in 2020 to number 1 in 2021.

Social media data at the end of 2020 provided an indication that TikTok was growing rapidly, and we expected it to overthrow Facebook in the social media arena, but the traffic explosion in 2021 that has propelled to the forefront of the domain traffic stakes was a bit unexpected.

*Reference: All data is from Cloudflare’s annual internet data report.


Juliet Gillies is a highly skilled writer, editor and English scholar. She is a skilled and experienced writer, having started out in marketing/communications but now focusing on educational materials. She has been writing and editing at a professional level for over 30 years.


Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or advice by e-mail to [email protected]

Comments are closed.