Where they go, millions follow.
Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters
Syrian Bana Alabed is a seven-year-old girl who tweeted on the attacks from Aleppo. She has since been evacuated to Turkey and recently signed a book deal.
She is the youngest on Time magazine's 'third annual roundup of the most influential people on the Internet,' an unranked list that is drawn up by looking at the contenders' 'global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news.'
Singer Katy Perry is the first person to reach 100 million Twitter followers and during the 96-hour livestream on YouTube, she underwent therapy, practiced yoga and meditation and slept while the cameras were rolling.
Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
United States President Donald Trump is now the most-followed world leader on Twitter, #covfefe.
Photograph: Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Matt Drudge is the creator of the Drudge Report news Web site, which counts Trump among its readers.
Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Model Chrissy Teigen, who is married to singer-actor John Legend, has a knack for taking down trolls and has nearly 20 million followers between Twitter and Instagram.
Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Singer Rihanna is one of the most followed celebrities on Facebook with 76 million friends.
Photograph: Getty Images
J K Rowling has almost 11 million Twitter followers and uses social media to keep the magic of Harry Potter alive.
Huda Kattan is a beauty blogger with over 20 million Instagram followers, more than 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, and over 45,000 Twitter followers.
Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Kim Kardashian West has over 100 million followers on Instagram alone!
Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
BTS is a beloved Korean boy band with a massive cult social media army.
Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Branden Miller's extremely amusing character, Joanne the Scammer, has over 3 million viewers across social media platforms.
Photograph: Andrew Toth/Getty Images
Zakin and Weisberg launched The Skimm in 2012 as a daily email newsletter. Today they have over 5 million subscribers.
Photograph: Jesse Grant/Getty Images
Cassey Ho is a fitness vlogger and the founder of the multi-million dollar fitness empire, Blogilates.
Photograph: Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters
Alexei Navalny is the Russian Opposition activist who garnered millions of followers after using YouTube to break through the Kremlin's information blockade.
Photograph: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
The Hawaii-born gamer, known online as Markiplier, has more than 17 million subscribers and over 7 billion views on his gaming videos.
Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Chance The Rapper, who has almost 10 million followers across all platforms, is also the first artist to win a Grammy for a streaming-only album.
Baby Ariel's social media stardom originated from musical.ly -- an app that lets you record and share 15-second lip-syncing videos.
Photograph: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Gigi Gorgeous is a Canadian model and an activist, who spent a decade documenting her transition from male to female. She has over 5 million followers across her social media platforms and is a star of her own documentary.
Brian Reed (pictured left) is an NPR host whose podcast S-Town has reached tens of millions of listeners.
Photograph: Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images
Chinese actress and humanitarian Yao Chen is the most popular person on Weibo (one of the biggest social media platforms of China), with 79 million followers.
Representational Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
A contractor for US Customs and Border Protection by day, Steven Pruitt (a.k.a. Ser Amantio di Nicolao) is a guardian of facts in the post-truth era. He volunteers as a Wikipedia editor and has made more edits since 2006 than any otherEnglish-language editor.
For his 475k Twitter followers Jonathan Sun or 'Jomny Sun' can be profound or plain funny, but always relatable.
'Jonnysun is an icon of "weird Twitter",' an absurd-comedy subculture on the social networking platform, writes NPR. 'Sun's alter ego mostly writes tweets that are haphazard and misspelled -- but still manage to say something.'
Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
Soon after Trump won the election, five Democrats -- Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg, Angel Padilla, Sarah Dohl and Matt Traldi --found a simple way to pool their political knowledge and insight: A Google Doc. Called the Indivisible Guide, it is 'a how-to manual for effecting political change from the ground up,' and has been downloaded almost 4 million times, and inspired the launch of more than 5,600 'Indivisible groups.'
'HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS'
That's the tweet that earned 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson 'a place in Internet history.'
The American teen tweeted to the Wendy's chain asking how many retweets it would take to earn a year's supply of free chicken nuggets. 'He never reached the 18 million mark set by the fast food chain,' TIME magazine noted, but 'he handily broke the record for most retweets ever.'
And he got the nuggets.
When artist Matt Furie created Pepe the Frog, he never intended it to be chosen by the far right as the mascot and become 'Internet's most notorious meme'. But it did.
Furie has condemned the use of Pepe, and even killed him off, but in vain, showing, as TIME said, 'just how quickly and powerfully the Internet can seize — and transform -- even a seemingly benign piece of content.'
- Who were the most influential in 2015 and 2016?