WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messaging application is slowly becoming a trusted source for news from across the globe. According to a study conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, it has been revealed that in some countries, WhatsApp has become a reliable source of news, at least if you ask the users. A total of 71,805 people from 36 countries participated in the study, and it was found that in more than half of these 36 markets, the overall percentage of people relying on Facebook as a source of news has declined significantly.
Facebook, the parent company that bought WhatsApp for $21 billion, is still undoubtedly one of the go-to platforms for people to learn what’s happening around. The study reveals that 47% of survey respondents still head to the social media to learn what is going on around them, be it locally or internationally. In fact, the study reveals that only 15 percent of people consider WhatsApp to be a trusted source for news. However, these numbers seem to look significantly bigger once they are broken down by country. Roughly about 51 percent of people in Malaysia rely on WhatsApp for their news, same is the case with Brazil and Chile, where roughly about 46 precent and 39 percent of Brazilians and Chileans, respectively, get their daily dose of news from WhatsApp. The list keeps going on with places like Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.
This drop in numbers for Facebook could be due to a lot of reasons. Also, these numbers seem to have declined across various platforms like print media, etc. This has a lot to do with the person’s age and where they prefer to get their news from. Overall, the number of individuals relying on print media like newspapers, etc. has gone down significantly throughout all age groups. Most of them have switched to either online sites or TV, and the reason for Facebook’s numbers to take a hit could also be due to the amount of fake news that are being circulated. Also, the fact that many carriers are bundling WhatsApp on phones in various countries could also be one of the reasons why people are not turning to any other platform for news.