WhatsApp is already the world’s most popular cross-platform messaging service. In some countries across the globe, it’s also serving a different purpose, it has gradually become their most trusted source for news. This according to a study that was conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
The survey had 71,805 respondents from 36 countries across the globe. 15 percent of the respondents said that they use WhatsApp to stay up to date with current affairs. That number might seem small at first glance but when you divide it by country, it’s a whole different story.
Over 51 percent and 46 percent of the participants from Malaysia and Brazil respectively said that they rely on WhatsApp for news. It’s a similar story in Chile, Singapore, and Hong Kong where 39 percent, 38 percent, and 36 percent of the participants use the service for news.
Facebook might be the world’s largest social network and while 47 percent of the survey’s respondents still log on to find out what’s going on in the world, the percent of people relying on Facebook for news has dropped in more than have of the countries surveyed since last year.
The reasons for that include the hit Facebook’s reputation took due to the fake news fiasco and the fact that many carriers in the countries surveyed bundle free WhatsApp with mobile subscriptions. This gives people more incentive to use the service even if they didn’t before.