[Numbers] How many people use messaging apps to get information?

by bold-lichterman

  • 23% of people interviewed as part of the study get informed through instant messaging applications.
  • This is WhatsApp comes first of the most popular applications, with 15% respondents who use it for this purpose, followed by Messenger (8%).

  • In Malaysia, more than half (51%) of respondents use WhatsApp to learn about current events.

In the space of a few years, social networks have established themselves in practice and have become an important source of information, especially among the youngest. A third of 18-24 year olds use them for information, as do 21% of 25-34 year olds and 15% of 35-44 year olds. In the United States, nearly half of the population uses social networks to get information, according to the 2017 edition of Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

Pointed out by some of their users for the lack of rules and their algorithms which promote the viralization of content, social networks are however not considered as reliable sources of information. Barely 24% of the 72,000 people questioned as part of the study consider that they make it possible to differentiate between fake news factual information.

More private, less subject to algorithms

Respondents tend to use instant messaging applications, such as WhatsApp or Messenger, in addition to social networks, to dig deeper into information. More private and less impacted by content filtering algorithms, these are now used by 23% of respondents to access content or to comment on the news with their loved ones without risk of reprisals, particularly in countries where it is expressing political opinions can be dangerous. In Thailand, for example, a 33-year-old man was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for criticizing the royal family on Facebook.

In terms of instant messaging, WhatsApp leads the way, used by 15% of respondents for information, followed by Messenger (8%). Snapchat and its 2% of users are far behind.


In some markets, messaging apps are popular, such as Malaysia, where 51% of respondents use WhatsApp for news updates. In Brazil, this proportion is 46%. In Chile, 39% of respondents are in this case, and in Singapore 38%. The Messenger application is used by 17% of respondents in Greece, and 16% of respondents in Portugal and Mexico.

** Study carried out on more than 72,000 people from 36 countries around the world.
Photo credit: Pixabay