WhatsApp, Facebook widely used for news, trust in television low

WhatsApp, Facebook widely used for news, trust in television low

According to an annual report by Reuters Institute, Online platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are widely used for news consumption in India. According to the global survey, India has emerged as one of the strongest mobile focussed markets, with 73% of users accessing news through smartphones and only 37% using computers.

As many of the 600 million active users access the internet only through smartphones, aided by low data charges and cheap devices, as per the survey is the sole reason behind the relatively greater use of smartphones than computers for news consumption. More than half of the respondents said they use WhatsApp and YouTube for news consumption.

About 59% of the respondents, mainly English-speaking online users in India, used television for news while 82% of them said they consume news through online platforms, including social media. The increased dependency on social media platforms for news consumption has also caused “serious problems with misinformation and hate speech.”

Nic Newman, senior research associate, Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism said in a report, “Facebook is seen as the main channel for spreading false information almost everywhere but messaging apps like WhatsApp are seen as a bigger problem in parts of the Global South such as Brazil and Indonesia.”

According to the Digital News Report 2021, while television remains the most popular news source overall, print brands are more trusted than television which are “far more polarized and sensational in their coverage.”

The reporter said, “Respondents are generally more affluent, younger, have higher levels of formal education, and are more likely to live in cities than the wider Indian population. Findings should not be taken to be nationally representative.”

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