While domestic social media networks like Cyworld were dominating the early market, they gradually lost their status from around 2009 on and were overshadowed by simpler and international networks like Facebook and Twitter. Nevertheless, domestic social media networks are still quite popular today. The best example is BAND by Naver – it is a mobile community application that lets its users communicate in groups, organize offline groups and find new groups based on their interests. The features include boards, chats, calendars and photo albums. The app is one of the most used social media networks by South Koreans of all ages, but especially enjoys great popularity with South Koreans aged 40 and above. Another example for the popularity of local services is KakaoTalk. Allthough it is not well known globally, KakaoTalk is the most popular messenger in South Korea, used by 99.1 percent of all mobile messenger users. In 2012, the company launched its social media platform KakaoStory, which is connected to the messenger. In 2018, around 24 percent of social media users stated to use it most frequently.
Especially with younger generations, social media platforms play a big part in their every day lives. International platforms like Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram enjoy a great popularity. In recent developments, Instagram’s popularity is constantly rising and the network might surpass Facebook soon. Worth mentioning is also the growing popularity of YouTube, with 76 percent of South Koreans using it as the main video streaming app in 2018.
These days, any discussion about social media automatically leads to the fact that it is often used as a platform for so-called fake news. South Koreans have a relatively low trust in news in general, having the lowest trust in news of all countries surveyed in Reuters’ latest Digital News Report. Nevertheless, the government is looking into ways of regulating the spread of fake news on social media. Given the country’s history with censorship, the public is concerned about this new movement.