WhatsApp has been gaining great popularity in many countries of the world as a source of reliable news. It is expected to become a major news sharing platform in the coming years after more and more people stop trusting their local and national news channels.
WhatsApp is an internationally popular messaging application but its use is not the same in every country. Malaysia is one of the countries where WhatsApp is serving more like a news sharing platform than a messaging application. According to the recent survey nearly 50% of the people in Malaysia will go to their WhatsApp once a week to see news shared by their friends.
The trend is quite the contrary in countries like the US and the UK where it is used for sharing news only 3% and 5% respectively. According to a report by Digital News, UK media has lost its trustworthiness after the recent debates on the matter of Brexit took place.
In the UK only 43% of the people now think that the news on their media can be trusted. This percentage was pretty high in the past years at 50%.
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism conducted a thorough research in various countries of Europe, Asia and even Americas. Hong Kong and Taiwan were also made part of the research. During the research the team asked questions from more than 70,000 people. The data was recorded and collected during the first and second month of the year.
When the survey was completed, Facebook remained the top contender when it came to people using it for news as well as general sharing. The next big website being used for the same purposes is YouTube. WhatsApp currently rests at number 3 but is going up fast. It is still surprising that Twitter is used less for sharing news by people than WhatsApp.
Another surprising analysis showed that Facebook was not the big giant in two countries, Japan and South Korea. In Japan it’s YouTube that’s used most commonly for news and general sharing. In South Korea, another messaging app very similar to WhatsApp, called Kakao Talk, is on top of the list for sharing news and general information.
The data on the use of Facebook for news sharing in many regions was compared with the data of the past years. It was concluded that a great number of these regions were not using Facebook for sharing news that much.
Coming to WhatsApp for news sharing, Malaysia and Brazil remain the top countries where WhatsApp is the favorite application for people check news. They will open WhatsApp only once a week but for the purpose of seeing any latest news.
Chile, Singapore, Spain and Turkey are also countries where WhatsApp is quite popular for sharing news among people. Experts are giving different reasons for the rise of WhatsApp as an application for exchanging news related messages.
One of the reasons is that people like end to end encryption on the application. With this type of encryption only the person sending and the person receiving the message can see it. Furthermore, people prefer to share news privately through WhatsApp rather than sharing it through Facebook because of bans in various countries by government for sharing anything against the country or government itself.
The mistrust of news channels is said to be another reason why people are now shifting to Whatsapp for this purpose. S Korea and Greece remain the countries where the least number of people trust news. Finland is one of the rare countries where more people trust TV news channels than people who don’t.