Meta’s Apps Continue to Dominate the Download Charts


While Elon’s X team keeps touting the app’s popularity as “the #1 news app in more than 140 countries worldwide”, overall, X’s downloads are not rising in-step, while Meta continues to dominate the overall app rankings.

According to the latest data from Sensor Tower, Instagram was the most downloaded app in Q1 2024, followed by TikTok, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

Sensor Tower tops apps

But Meta’s dominance actually extends even further than that, with Threads coming in at 11th on the list, and Messenger at 12th.

X didn’t make the top listings, but is currently sitting at 25th on the “Top Free – Overall” rankings.

Which means that X is still getting attention, and is still a popular app on a broader scale. But it’s not performing as well as Elon and Co. are keen to project, especially when they single it out as the most popular news app, and identify that as the reason as to why mainstream media is so scared of X.

Which is not correct.

Here’s why X is actually the most downloaded news app.

Back in 2016, the app then known as Twitter was in less-than-great shape. After several quarters of slowing growth, while Facebook and Instagram were booming, leading to increasing pressure from market analysts, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey came up with a genius plan. If Twitter changed its categorization to the “News” category in the App Store listings, instead of “Social Media”, it would no longer be directly compared to Facebook, IG, and others, and Twitter was seeing way more downloads than the existing leaders in the “News” app rankings, apps like CNN, Fox News, BuzzFeed, etc.

Because no one needs to download those apps, they were getting the updates from those apps on social platforms, like Twitter, so Twitter re-categorized as a News app.

It’s not a news app. In fact, it can’t make the same change on the Google Play Store because it doesn’t qualify as a News app under Google’s parameters.

But on The App Store, Twitter immediately shot to number one in the News category, which was a story that it could re-frame for the market, in order to help it avoid negative comparison with other social apps.

Which didn’t really work then, and doesn’t work now, because everyone knows that Twitter/X is not a “News” app, and should not be compared to those other aggregator tools.

But Twitter ran with it, and Elon’s running with it now, as a means to essentially reframe the app.

But overall, in comparison to other social media platforms, which X invariably is, it’s not close, with even Meta’s Twitter clone Threads now besting X in overall downloads.

What does that mean for the future of Elon’s X project?

Well, there’s still plenty of opportunity there, with some 250 million people still logging into X every day to check in on the latest updates.

If Elon and Co. can get it right, it still seems like X can become a bigger consideration, but it hasn’t found its pathway forward as yet, and Musk’s various changes are not resonating on a broader scale.

It’s working on AI, payments, and it’s still building its original video content slate. But right now, Meta’s clearly leading the way.

Which is why, just like in 2016, Elon and Co. are reframing X’s battle to be with news apps instead.

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