The report finds a rise in the use of messaging apps for news as consumers look for more private (and less confrontational) spaces to communicate.

Facebook use for news declines as youngsters turn to WhatsApp Reuters Institute study
Atom Social Media Friday, June 15, 2018 - 14:35

It has been revealed through a study conducted by Reuters Institute that the youth of today prefer closed messaging apps like WhatsApp to discuss and disseminate news than the practice of using Facebook posts to do so. The study went into the whole gamut of news being conveyed through the social media and also the mainline electronic media and wanted to know the trust levels among the news consuming public.

The study has discovered that there has been a drop of 9% in terms of people seeking news on the social media site. It is a different matter though that WhatsApp, the gainer in the process, is also owned by Facebook. This is the first time a formal study has revealed this drop after years of seeing an upward curve.

The reason for this change in preference is being explained by the fact that the comments posted on Facebook can be seen by many and if anything controversial is posted, it can even cause trouble for the individual, something the user would want to avoid.

WhatsApp or any other messaging app for that matter, permits the sender of information to only those he or she knows and even if it’s within a group, the sender would know and trust them. The same works for receiving information or news through the messaging apps and the tendency to trust them. In the event, it can be concluded that while the news may be received through Twitter or Facebook it is discussed elsewhere.

Some of the other findings in the study include the revelation that while in Asia and some of the Latin American countries, WhatsApp and Instagram rule the roost, when one looks at Europe and the United States, it appears Snapchat has a better following.

The Reuters Institute study also covered the way people perceived news as dished out by different media in different parts of the world. In many cases, the respondents stayed true to their political affiliations. For example, while the right leaning people in the US would trust Fox News more, the leftists and others relied on CNN. Local television channels also appeared to score better with the people. Similarly, public broadcasters fared better in the trust level scores and digital-only news providers were not trusted to that extent.

However, it is interesting to view the study in the light of various events of fake news spreading through WhatsApp, which in India has caused bouts of violence leading to the death of many in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Telangana.

Also read: Google needs to do more on bridging gender gap: Report

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.