GlobalWebIndex’s latest data shows a shift to global platforms and that means user growth for the big three of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Tom Smith, GlobalWebIndex's founder, exclusively talks us through their latest research into social media usage around the world.

The data we collected at the end of 2012 is now revealing its secrets and the key trend from our 31 major markets is that social is becoming more global.

That’s good news for Facebook, where active users – “Used or contributed to in the past month” – have increased 33% year on year to 693m.

It’s good news for Google+, which is up 27% in terms of active users to 343m to become the No 2 social network. Given that YouTube is Number 3, it’s now hard to argue that Google doesn’t have a strong stake in the social internet.

And it’s good news for Twitter, which was the fastest-growing social network in 2012, up 40% to 288m across our 31 markets. Twenty-one per cent of global internet population now uses Twitter at least once a month.

Growth for the global giants, however, is bad news for local players. MeinVz (Germany), Hyves (Netherlands) and Copains d’Avant (France) were all hit and the impact has also been felt in the world’s most social active market.

China’s oversubscribed social network market has also seen significant drops in usage at some key players. The biggest victim was Tencent Weibo, which lost 57% of its user base but Kaixin, Sina Weibo and QZone also suffered losses.