As ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, spreads rapidly across the globe, there are still notable numbers of people in emerging economies who don't have access to mobile phones. And even phone owners struggle with connectivity, costs and security issues.
Smartphone users in emerging economies – especially those who use social media – tend to be more exposed to people with different backgrounds and more connected with friends they don’t see in person.
Many who use social media say they regularly see false or misleading content, but also view these platforms as offering new avenues for political engagement.
What is the internet? Who is an internet user? Research suggests that some people who use the internet may not be aware that they’re doing so.
Mobile phone users see a mix of benefits and pitfalls related to their devices, and Facebook and WhatsApp are among the most widely used digital platforms.
Facebook and WhatsApp are the most widely used social media platforms and messaging applications in 11 countries around the world.
Access to mobile phones and social media is common across emerging economies. People around the world see certain benefits from these technologies, yet there are also concerns about their impact on children.
Whether in advanced or emerging economies, younger people, those with higher levels of education and those with higher incomes are more likely to be digitally connected.
This sortable table provides data for levels of internet use, cellphone ownership, smartphone ownership and social media usage from 2013 to 2017 by country, highlighting the countries surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa.
Most in the region feel positively about the role the internet plays in their countries, but long-standing digital divides between internet haves and have-nots persist.