Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Digital News Report, Social Media News
Facebook would be the weirdest reporter in history. Image: theUSBport.com.

On Thursday, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published its 2017 Digital News Report. It shows people are increasingly using social media apps like Facebook and WhatsApp to get and share the news.

The Report was made in partnership with the University of Oxford and with support from Google and BBC News, and it indicates something inspiring: Most people don’t trust what they read on the Internet.

Fake news as a phenomenon is on the rise, but people are more and more aware of it since the 2016 Presidential Elections. The Digital News Report is available for download at its official site for anyone who wants to read it in detail.

Significant social media findings

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed more than 70,000 people in over 30 countries across the five continents. The results were conclusive, showing a steady adoption of digital platforms like social media for news.

In the United States alone, more than half of the population sampled said they use social media as a source of news, exceeding the presence of traditional print media, now plunging almost below the 20% mark. TV is still more popular at 65% or so, while the internet as a whole is the main source of news for Americans.

The growth has been similarly steady in the United Kingdom, where social media is also on the rise towards 50%. Countries like Germany, Japan, France, and Spain, though, show a decline in this platform’s use as a source for news.

What’s the most popular social media platform for news?

Facebook, as you might expect, reigns over other social networks that also have news hubs or can be used to find out what’s happening. 47% of users surveyed said they used Facebook to get news recently, while 22% said YouTube, 10% said Twitter, and 6% said Instagram.

Messaging apps, on the other hand, are also on the rise as alternative news sources. In this realm, WhatsApp tops Facebook with 15% of users saying they shared their news over the platform in the last week, while only 8% did so over at Facebook Messenger.

In countries like Malaysia, Brazil, and Chile, the penetration of WhatsApp as a news channel is significant; with the Asian country showing a 51% of user engagement while the other two nations reported 46% and 39% of their surveyed users used the app to share news respectively.

Other than that, the report says eight in ten people use a Facebook product at least once a week, and that that same proportion stands for the people who use both a messaging app and a social network to get their news. The math is simple for Zuckerberg, who owns Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

The Reuters Institute says on a closing note that aggregation services like Google News and Apple News have also gained significant traffic over the years thanks to their efforts to deliver a more seamless mobile experience, although others like Reddit still struggle to gain traction worldwide.

Source: Digital News Report

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