Sign up United Kingdom
Proactive Investors - Run By Investors For Investors

WhatsApp chips away at Facebook as young people turn to the messaging app to discuss news events, says Reuters Institute

News usage at the social network is down 9 percentage points from 2017 in the US and 20 points for younger audiences
A phone displaying the WhatsApp app
CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s purchase of WhatsApp in 2014 for US$19bn turned out to be prescient

Researchers at the Reuters Institute said Wednesday that the use of social media networks such as Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) to consume news has started to fall in the US as many young people turn toward messaging apps such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp to discuss events.

A Reuters Institute survey of people in 37 markets had some grim findings for the world’s largest social network platform pointing out that Facebook usage for news is down 9 percentage points from 2017 in the United States and down 20 points for younger audiences.

“The use of social media for news has started to fall in a number of key markets after years of continuous growth,” Nic Newman, research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said in the Digital News Report.

“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,” Newman said.

Social media has changed how news is consumed

People used to subscribe to the local paper, but now nearly 50% of people hear about a breaking news story on social media.

The research lays bare the volatility of consumer tastes pointing out that Facebook and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are still used by “many users to discover news but the discussion then takes place on messaging apps such as WhatsApp,” often because people “feel less vulnerable” discussing events on such apps.

READ: Facebook scraps 'Trending Topics' section as fake news debate rolls on

Wall Street had balked at Facebook founder CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s free-spending ways when he has bought WhatsApp in 2014 for US$19bn in cash and stock, but it has turned out to be a prescient decision. The report points out that WhatsApp is more popular than Twitter in importance for news in many countries.

“Some respondents still found news on Facebook but then posted items on a WhatsApp group for discussion with a closer set of friends,” said the report.

The survey pointed out regional news sharing differences noting WhatsApp and Instagram, also a unit of Facebook, have “taken off in Latin America and Asia,” while Snapchat Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP) has made progress in Europe and the United States.

View full FB profile View Profile

Facebook Timeline

No investment advice

The Company is a publisher. You understand and agree that no content published on the Site constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable or advisable for any specific person. You further understand that none of the information providers or their affiliates will advise you personally concerning the nature, potential, advisability, value or suitability of any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, investment strategy, or other matter.

You understand that the Site may contain opinions from time to time with regard to securities mentioned in other products, including company related products, and that those opinions may be different from those obtained by using another product related to the Company. You understand and agree that contributors may write about securities in which they or their firms have a position, and that they may trade such securities for their own account. In cases where the position is held at the time of publication and such position is known to the Company, appropriate disclosure is made. However, you understand and agree that at the time of any transaction that you make, one or more contributors may have a position in the securities written about. You understand that price and other data is supplied by sources believed to be reliable, that the calculations herein are made using such data, and that neither such data nor such calculations are guaranteed by these sources, the Company, the information providers or any other person or entity, and may not be complete or accurate.

From time to time, reference may be made in our marketing materials to prior articles and opinions we have published. These references may be selective, may reference only a portion of an article or recommendation, and are likely not to be current. As markets change continuously, previously published information and data may not be current and should not be relied upon.

© Proactive Investors 2018

Proactive Investors Limited, trading as “Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom”, is Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Registered in England with Company Registration number 05639690. Group VAT registration number 872070825 FCA Registration number 559082. You can contact us here.

Market Indices, Commodities and Regulatory News Headlines copyright © Morningstar. Data delayed 15 minutes unless otherwise indicated. Terms of use