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Instagram Set to Overtake Twitter as a News Source


The photo-centric social media app Instagram looks set to overtake Twitter as a news source, according to a new report on digital news.

Reuters Institute has published its Digital News Report 2020, and one of the interesting findings is how much Instagram has surged as a news source among young people.

Since 2018, the use of Instagram for news has doubled, and the Institute believes that it will overtake Twitter within the next year.

Graph via Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020.

Part of Instagram’s power for news distribution seems to be in its focus on visuals.

“Instagram’s become very popular with younger people”, lead author Nic Newman tells BBC News. “They really respond well to stories that are told simply and well with visual images.”

But while usage for news has increased on Instagram, only 26% of respondents say they trusted social media platforms as a news source.

“Access to news continues to become more distributed,” the report states. “Across all countries, just over a quarter (28%) prefer to start their news journeys with a website or app. Those aged 18–24 (so-called Generation Z) have an even weaker connection with websites and apps and are more than twice as likely to prefer to access news via social media.”

The results of this study also show the immense power and influence Facebook wields in the world of news — the company, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, reaches a whopping 85% of people every week.

Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Thomas Vanhaecht