Brazilians are using less Facebook and WhatsApp to see news, poll says | Behavior

Brazilians are less using social media as a tool to get informed. The Reuters Digital News Report survey, carried out by the institute of Reuters in partnership with Oxford University, it reveals that 47% share news via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and social networks such as Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. But all platforms registered a drop in exclusive use to see news.


Brazilians are using social media less to see news (Image: Jeremy Zero/ Unsplash)

Percentage of those seeking news on Facebook drops

The survey covered 46 countries: 24 in Europe, 9 in America — with 6 Latin American participants — 12 in Asia and 3 in Africa. The study was based on the responses to an online questionnaire, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which sought to know about business models in the media sector, information sources via social networks and the performance of news outlets such as TV stations public or private, websites and printed newspapers.

The use of social media to access news around the world remains prevalent, especially for younger users. The report highlights WhatsApp and Telegram, its main competitor, as popular in the southern hemisphere, especially in countries like Brazil and Indonesia.

But the number of Brazilians who access platforms such as messengers and Facebook, YouTube, Facebook Messenger and Twitter to get information dropped. About 47% use Facebook to discover news, up from 54% in 2019 — down from 7%. Use of WhatsApp to discover news dropped 5%, from 48% to 43% year-on-year. Only Instagram remained stable: 30% continue to use the photo app to read stories and reports.

Portion of Brazilians who use social networks to get informed:

Social network 2020 2019
Facebook 47% 53%
Whatsapp 43% 48%
YouTube 39% 45%
Instagram 30% 30%
Facebook Messenger 11% 13%
Twitter 12% 17%

Generation Z prefers social media to watch news, study says

The survey says that young people between the ages of 18 and 24, known as Generation Z, have a greater preference for accessing news via social networks, without accessing the vehicles’ websites by cell phone or tablet. Mobile has established itself as the dominant for browsing news — 73% use devices for this purpose, which was accentuated by COVID-19. Brazil is above the global average: the use of cell phones to get information here is 77%.

News access media graph (Image: Reuters/Reproduction)

Graphic about means of access to news in Brazil (Image: Reuters/ Reproduction)

“This year’s research shows that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated many of the long-term trends we’ve documented over the past decade, especially the migration to digital, mobile and platforms that are expected to dominate the news environment,” writes Rasmus Nielsen, director of Institute for the Study of Journalism of Reuters (RISJ).

Brazil has a higher level of concern about fake news

The confidence index in news vehicles in Brazil is 54% — the highest in the Latin American region. It is a level that remains high when compared to other continental markets: it is the 8th highest confidence in the media in the world, tied with Belgium and just behind countries like Finland, Denmark and Norway. Americans are the least secure in relation to the press itself, with 29%.

But Brazil is the leader in the percentage of concern about fake news: 82% of Brazilians are concerned about false or misleading content, according to the survey. This is due to the popularity of WhatsApp and Telegram, where exposure to this type of content is greater. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of reliable information, which makes that number rise in 2020, according to research by Reuters.

Celebrities and influencers play a crucial role in spreading fake news, according to the study. In the pandemic scenario, they were responsible for greater repercussions of misinformation about vaccines, or even the false relationship of the 5G network to disseminate the coronavirus. No Brasil, Twitter, Facebook e Instagram já ocultaram ou baniram postagens do presidente Jair Bolsonaro por desinformar sobre a COVID-19.

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