Young Social Media Users Ignore Facebook, Embrace WhatsApp As Primary News Source


Young social media users are getting their news from social media networks. However, a new survey has revealed their preferred network to receive news.

WhatsApp Beats Facebook

The latest volume of the Digital News Report, a study done by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, found that younger social media users receive their news from apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram over their parent company Facebook.

The research findings were based off a YouGov survey that consisted of over 74,000 participants from 37 different countries. Researchers noted that younger social media users turn to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat, due to an increase to keep their views on current events private.

The report also indicates that WhatsApp has strengthened its usage internationally. Researchers reported that the Facebook-purchased messaging app has built up users in both Latin America and Asia. They also noticed that social media users posted on WhatsApp more frequently in countries where it is difficult to express their views in public such as Turkey and Malaysia.

Facebook's Decline

The Digital News Report suggested that social media users in multiple countries are not turning to Facebook as their primary source of news. Researchers added that Facebook's news consumption was down by 9 percent compared to the 2017 Digital News Report. While social media users turn to Facebook to find their news, they do not discuss the hot topics of the day on the platform and turn to other apps for dialogue.

"We continue to see a rise in the use of messaging apps for news as consumers look for more private (and less confrontational) spaces to communicate," said Nic Newman, a research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism to CNBC.

Facebook News

The social media company recently launched a new section on its network. The "Memories" section allows its users to revisit old posts and photos. The "Memories" section also commemorates the friends that they added on that day. There is also an area called "Memories You May Have Missed," which highlights posts that users may have overlooked.

Before the 2018 Digital News Report was released, the Pew Research Center issued a new study that stated that 51 percent of American teens, aged 13 to 17, used Facebook. The report mentioned that the teens preferred to spend most of their time on other networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Teens who spent time on Facebook tend to be from households with annual incomes less than $30,000.

Tech Times reached out to the University of Oxford for a comment on this story.

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