WeChat vs Facebook: Unraveling the Differences in Social Networking and Messaging

Facebook is at the top of the list of digital platforms worldwide, but WeChat has started to grow in popularity outside of China as well – which one is better?

The competition between social media platforms is always a tight one. While some are known and used worldwide, some social media platforms gained popularity only in some regions of the world. Depending on the region or country in which a digital platform is primarily used, it can have the potential to go international and dethrone other well-established social networking and messaging apps.

Two rivaling platforms despite their differences in terms of global reach and popularity are none other than Facebook and WeChat. On one side we have Facebook. Facebook is a world-renowned social media platform that has been a strong player in the industry for a while now. On the other side, we have WeChat. WeChat is mainly used in China and its name has started to go around due to its impressive number of monthly active users. But which digital platform is better? Does WeChat stand a chance against Facebook? Or is it going to remain just a locally used Chinese app?

What is Facebook?

When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook can be considered the biggest and most influential one. Even though many Gen Z might consider it outdated, Facebook was the first social digital platform to reach one billion registered accounts. Many are still using Facebook and it looks like the numbers are only going up and not down.

One of the greatest advantages of Facebook is the fact that it is part of the Meta platform. This means that you can easily share content from one digital platform to another or create profiles with ease. Messenger, also known as Facebook Messenger is a messaging app that was initially created to support the conversations that originated from interactions on Facebook. Now it has its own website interface and can be considered more independent of the Facebook platform, but many still use the apps together.

Facebook’s Major Features:

  • Registration and Usage

To register on Facebook you you need to use one of the two – phone number or email address. You can of course use both, but the process of making an account is pretty simple and flexible. If you decide to download Messenger as well for chatting purposes, your Facebook account will be used to sign in. A great feature that makes using Messenger easier is the automatic addition of your Facebook friends to your contact list.

The process of finding and adding friends on Facebook is rather simple. You just have to know their name and write it in the search bar. Although these ways are not very popular, you can also search for friends by using their phone numbers or email addresses. While using Facebook you can stumble upon people you might know in the friend suggestions section. Just click on the add friend button and wait for them to accept your request.

Even though Facebook and Messenger are two separate apps, they are dependent on each other and are often used together. Facebook users can now send money to their friends through Messenger. This intuitive feature is new and free of charge. After opening a chat with a friend, at the bottom of the screen you will see a $ sign. By clicking on it, you can enter the sum you want to send. Both you and your friend will be requested to enter your credit card information to complete the transfer.

  • Messaging

When it comes to messaging you will need two apps – Facebook and Messenger. If you are using your mobile phone, you will have to unfortunately download both of them. So if you want to experience every aspect of a social media platform such as posting images, commenting, chatting, and sharing content with your friends, you will have to switch back and forth between the two apps. However, in terms of messaging capabilities, Messenger is a great app. Not only can you exchange text messages and engage in voice and video calls, but you can also create group chats and send temporary messages. Messenger has a feature called disappearing messages that enables you to send messages that expire after 24 hours. So you can benefit from some extra privacy by making use of this feature.

  • Interface and Design

Being a titan in the industry, Facebook has both the resources and experience to offer an aesthetic design and a user-friendly interface. Traversing and navigating the app is easy and intuitive. Thanks to the visual elements, even those who are new to digital platforms can use it without issues. To be able to connect and communicate with your friends, Facebook and Messenger allow you to see whether your friends are online or whether they have read your messages.

  • User Demographics

In terms of user demographics, the ages of the highest percentage of Facebook users are between 25 and 34. As of 2024, the number of active users on Facebook exceeds 3 billion all over the world.

  • Marketing

If you are looking for a platform to use for advertising, Facebook is a great alternative – it provides targeted ads. Facebook offers an ideal space for marketing so you can use it for scaling business purposes. Marketing on Facebook is both efficient and business goal-oriented and can help you reach audiences from all age groups and countries.

What is WeChat?

If you are not from China, chances are you are not familiar with WeChat. WeChat is a Chinese app that is mainly used for messaging. However, WeChat’s capabilities are not limited to just that – it can be used for a wide variety of reasons. It is similar to other Western social media platforms, you can add friends, like, comment, and share posts their posts. WeChat comes with a twist. Unlike other social media apps, WeChat offers you everything you might need. It’s an all-in-one app – think of it as a mix between Facebook, WhatsApp, and your banking app. Yes, you can use WeChat for almost everything, you don’t have to switch between apps. Do you need to transfer money? Just do it from the built-in wallet. Do you want to do some shopping? Place orders directly from the app.

WeChat’s Major Features:

  • Registration and Usage

When making an account on WeChat, the rules are rather strict – you must add your phone number, there is no way to avoid it. Even more than that, to complete the registration, you must choose one of the following types of official accounts – subscription and business. You have to be very careful when going through this process – WeChat will not allow you to make changes after finishing setting up your account.In terms of adding friends, there are several ways to do it. Besides having your phone number linked after making your account, you get a WeChat ID. By knowing your friend’s phone number or WeChat ID, you can search for them in the app and vice versa. Another way to find and add friends is by connecting your phone contacts with WeChat. This way you can see which one of your contacts is already registered on WeChat and add them. Scanning someone’s QR code is a fast way to add someone next to you, or even simpler – you can exchange contacts through Bluetooth.Besides being a messaging app, WeChat has payment capabilities. Through your in-app wallet, you can transfer money to your friends – but that’s not all! You can also place online orders and even pay your bills. All this takes place in one app, eliminating the need to switch between multiple ones. Using WeChat for banking purposes is made possible by allowing users to connect their banking accounts to the app.

  • Messaging

At its core, WeChat is a messaging app. Unlike Facebook, messaging on WeChat does not require downloading a separate app that has the sole purpose of chatting. Everything from messaging to posting and engaging with your friends is centralized and can be done in the WeChat app. When it comes to messaging capabilities, WeChat has it all. On WeChat besides communicating through text messages and voice calls, you can benefit from broadcast messaging and video conferencing. 

  • Interface and Design

When it comes to design, WeChat sought to find the best alternative to keep the platform as easy to traverse as possible while offering an impressive number of features. And the designers achieved that – WeChat has a user-friendly and intuitive interface. However, in comparison with Facebook, WeChat’s interface is a little more congested. A feature that WeChat unfortunately does not have is the ability to see when your friends are online and whether they have seen your text messages.

  • User Demographics

In the user demographics department WeChat ranks high among users with ages below 24 years with a percentage of 33.5%. In 2024 the number of monthly active users grew compared to earlier years and exceeded 1.4 billion users mainly in China and the Chinese diaspora. 

  • Marketing

Unlike Facebook, WeChat doesn’t allow targeted ads and might not provide as much space for advertising. However, on WeChat you can make a business account and use it for promoting your brand. By running your account strategically, you can attract new customers and make your business more visible. 

WeChat vs Facebook

Facebook and WeChat are two great social media apps. However, while they share similar features and uses, they also pose significant differences. Here are the main ones that you should consider before downloading one of them or deciding to switch one for the other:

  • WeChat is mainly used in China and by the Chinese diaspora, while Facebook is used across a wide variety of countries.
  • It is mandatory to add your phone number when signing up on WeChat, on Facebook you can choose one of the two – phone number or email address.
  • WeChat offers more alternatives in terms of adding friends.
  • On Facebook, you can interact with people’s posts regardless of your friendship status on the app. On WeChat you can like, comment, and share posts only if you are friends on the app.
  • To chat with your Facebook friends, you need to download the Messenger app. On WeChat, you can communicate with friends directly on the app.
  • On WeChat, you can pay bills and place orders.
  • Facebook’s interface is more user-friendly than WeChat’s.
  • Facebook has a larger user base than WeChat – almost twice as big. However, WeChat is the largest social media platform in China.
  • Facebook allows targeted ads, but WeChat doesn’t.

Choosing a social media platform is never easy. They all serve similar purposes but offer unique features and experiences at the same time. So to answer the question – which one is better? Facebook or WeChat? There is no clear winner. They are both great platforms that are leaders in different parts of the world. That’s why when choosing one of the two, the first thing you should consider is the geographical location you or your contacts live in. What is the use of social media if not to share your life with your friends?