Instagram is set to overtake Twitter as a News source. A report by the Reuters Institute Digital News found that more young people between the ages of 18-24 use Instagram as their primary source of News for the Corona virus pandemic, with the figure doubling since 2018.
The report however showed that social media was also the least trusted source for News. The national governments and News organisations are trusted by about 59 percent of the population compared to 26 percent who trusted the social media sites for news about the Corona virus with a similar percentage trusting News shared on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Of all the people who answered to the survey, a third of them use Instagram, while two thirds were under 25 years. 11 percent of that figure use the app for News, putting it one point above Twitter.
“Instagram’s become very popular with younger people”, lead author of the report Nic Newman, said. “They really respond well to stories that are told simply and well with visual images”.
Images and stories have helped to generate more engagement from users of the app. This is evident in conversations around the Black Lives Matter Movement, Climate Change and the Corona Virus. As opposed to informing users, the topics have attracted massive engagement from individual users.
“It’s not that one necessarily replaces the other,” Mr Newman said. “They might use Facebook and Instagram, or might use Twitter and Instagram.”
Instagram and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook, which has a global reach of about 85 percent people every week.
The company’s dominance in how stories are being told “remains incredibly important”, he added.
In terms of trust, the Corona Virus pandemic had increased the level of trust for the News organizations. Only 38 percent said they trusted News most of the time and about 46 percent said they trusted their favourite News source.
The survey was done across 40 countries and only 6 countries had a majority that said they could trust the News most of the time.
However, with the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, more people turned to the News and the level of trust in terms of the dissemination of information rose substantially to a 59 percent trust rating, putting them at par with National governments.
The researchers of the report pointed out that the trust likely came from News organizations working closely with and as per the advice of Public health officials.
Unfortunately, the high rating has already started to fall.