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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 26, 2017

Report identifies increase in news sharing via messaging apps

Today, the number of Americans that get news from social media continues to rise while in other countries growth in the use of social media for news has flattened out, or declined.

by Helen Leggatt

Research conducted among more than 71,000 consumers by the Reuters Institute For The Study of Journalism's 2017 Digital News Report, covering 34 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia, in addition to Taiwan and Hong Kong has found big differences in the way news is consumed.

More than half (51%) of people in the U.S. now get news from social media, up 5% since 2016 and a doubling since 2013.

However, according to Nic Newman, Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, "the reality is that, for most of us, social media are not something different but increasingly just part of the everyday media mix". The report shows that 67% of those in the U.S. who use social for news also watch television news, and 66% also visit mainstream news website or apps.

"Just 2% ONLY use social media for news in an average week," added Newman. "This evidence acts as counter to the often-cited theories that we live in our echo chambers much of the time. Most people combine a number of different sources and platforms for news."

Meanwhile, outside of the U.S. and the U.K., the use of social media for news has flattened out and, in some countries there have been significant declines such as in Australia (-6%), Brazil (-6%), Italy (-5%) and Portugal (-4%).

According to the report, while Facebook remains the most popular social media and messaging service for news in all but two countries (Japan and South Korea), the use of Facebook for news fell in more than half of all the regions where a YoY comparison was possible.


Meanwhile, WhatsApp has become the second most popular social service for news in nine of the 36 locations, and the third most popular platform in a further five countries. The report cites several reasons for the rise in popularity of the messaging app including its privacy, encouragement by some mobile networks to use the app by offering unlimited data, and the adoption of the app by some countries leading media outlets, including radio.

Tags: apps, messaging app, news consumption trends, social media

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