South Africans trust their mobile browsers for social media access more than apps, Opera claims in its latest mobile web report.
According to the firm's State of the Mobile Web report, 35% of South Africans prefer the mobile browser compared to using dedicated applications for the purpose.
Opera attributed the change in behaviour to security concerns.
"We are happy to see that 61% of Opera Mini users in South Africa are choosing our browser to access Facebook based on the privacy features we offer," said Jørgen Arnesen, Opera head of global marketing and distribution at Opera.
The company said that according to anonymous usage data, 500 000 more people accessed Facebook through the browser, compared with the same period in 2017.
Dominant social media platform
Despite apparent concerns, Facebook is still the dominant social media platform, commanding 71% of eyeballs, followed by Instagram at 32%.
Opera said that nearly half (45%) of South Africans accessed the web more than eight times per day on smartphones. Shopping, lifestyle and travel were popular with women while men were more focused on technology and sports.
Globally, Opera has a 5% market share on the mobile browser market after having ceded control to the dominance of Google's Chrome browser (52.5%), according to StatCounter.
In South Africa, Opera's market share has jumped to 18.14%, second to Chrome at 48.74%.
In 2017, World Wide Worx found in its SA Social Media Landscape report that of the 14 million users who use Facebook, 10 million accessed the platform via mobile devices.
Despite the growth of the social media platform, it continues to come under pressure in both the US and Europe over allegations of voter manipulation through the Cambridge Analytica.
It is estimated that up to 87 million users were affected by the company's drive to vacuum up private data.
Facebook sent notifications to users who might have been affected by the breach.
For its study, Norway-based Opera said that 49% of the sample was women. Participants answered questions on their behaviour on using the internet.