Economy, Sci & Tech

53% of Iranians Use Social Media

53% of Iranians Use Social Media53% of Iranians Use Social Media

The results of a recent survey show 53% of all Iranians use at least one type of social media network, with the most popular messaging application being Telegram.

Iranian Students' Polling Agency recently conducted a survey on people's views regarding social media websites and applications, and how much time they spent using such services.

The research was conducted in the month ending December 21, 2015, ISNA reported.

The survey covered provincial capitals, second-tier cities and villages across the country and a total of 4,390 people answered the questionnaire, of whom 49% were female.

The average age of the population was 38 years; the youngest and oldest person to answer was 18 and 80 years old respectively.

On average, 40% of those who participated had a university degree or higher and the rest had a high-school diploma or lower.  

The results revealed that social media networks are widely used among populations living in 56% of provincial capitals, 56% of second-tier cities and 42% of villages respectively.

Also, 72% of 18-29 age group are on at least one type of social media network. The share decreases as the age of the population edges up; for 30-49 years-old and 50-year and older groups, the percentage was 53% and 25% respectively.

Furthermore, results showed that 55% and 51% of the male and female population respectively use at least one type of social media network.

Populations with higher education make wider use of social media networks: 75% of university graduates and those with higher levels of education are user of at least one type of network while the same is only true among 39% of the population that hold a high-school degree or have lower.    

In the capital Tehran, 60% of the population had said they are users of at least one type of social media network. A large section of the users were among Tehran-based youth (18-29 years old), such that 82% of this group were active on social media.

Among the residents of Tehran, the share decreased with the rise in age; for those who were in the 30-49 age group and 50 years and above, the percentage was 65% and 50% respectively.

  Top Apps

Not surprisingly, the messaging service Telegram has become the most popular of all social media networks locally. Of the people registered on to at least one type of social media network, 71% are Telegram users; also, 37.5% of the population above 18 years said they actively use Telegram.

A headcount of Iran's population in 2011 revealed that 54 million were 18 years and above. Referring to the same statistics, one can conclude that nearly 20 million Iranians 18 years and above are members of Telegram.

As people under the age of 18 are also actively using the messaging application, this clearly implies that the overall number of Telegram users in Iran is well over 20 million.

In the capital Tehran, 48% of the population are using Telegram. Again in first place was the 18-29-year age group, 65% of whom are active users of Telegram.

ISPA conducted a similar survey in March 2015, during which only 25% of Tehran's population said that they were using Telegram. This figure has almost doubled over the last eight months.  

After Telegram, the Facebook-owned messaging service, WhatsApp was the second most popular with 26% of the population above 18 using the social media application.

Image-sharing platform Instagram came in third place with 16.6% of the population using the application.

Other popular social media platforms included Line (16.5%), Viber (12.7%), Facebook (10.6%), Tango (4.7%), Google Plus (2.8%), Twitter (2.3%) and WeChat (1.8%). The percentages refer to the share of all those who mentioned using the applications.

Viber users have declined sharply over the past year. While the latest results say 13% of Tehran's population (above 18 years of age) use Viber, the same figure stood at 27.6% and 42% according to the results of similar surveys conducted in July 2014 and March 2015 respectively.

The sudden decline most probably occurred after the application was filtered in Iran.


Asked about the top content categories users preferred on the networks, 67% said they use the applications for entertainment purposes, especially those with cinematic and humorous content.

Other top categories included scientific material (38%), news and political analyses (38%), family updates (26%), sports news (16%), cooking (15%), religion (14%) and sexual issues (7%).

Of those who answered the questionnaire, 38% considered social media networks as a good and productive means of communications, 23% referred to it as a negative pastime and 31% had a neutral view of the issue.

Also, 55% of all those who themselves signed on to at least one type of social media network said the networks were a positively good means of communication, 33% held a neutral stance and only 9% gave the networks a negative rating.