Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) users appear to be looking elsewhere to find their news and not on the world’s largest social media platform. Additionally, consumers are turning to alternative platforms like Whatsapp, according to a study by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute.
Overall, average news consumption on Facebook has dropped about 6% globally since 2016. Almost all of the decline is due to a decrease in the discovery, posting, and sharing of news in Facebook. Messaging apps seem to be gaining more ground in this role.
At the same time, Whatsapp saw a 4% increase in the same period. Instagram and Snapchat news usage rose 3% and 2% respectively in two years. Keep in mind that both the Whatsapp and Instagram platforms are owned by Facebook, but they attract many users who put a high value on their privacy.
The Reuters Institute said that consumers were finding the private nature of messaging services like Whatsapp more appealing and were more willing to share and engage in news content. It found that people felt uncomfortable about their growing networks of friends on Facebook and, as a consequence, were less disposed to use the platform for news.
One of the main highlights from the study was that WhatsApp is now used for news by around half of the sample of online users in Malaysia (54%) and Brazil (48%) and by around third in Spain (36%) and Turkey (30%).
Shares of Facebook were last seen at up about 2% at $196.10, with a consensus analyst price target of $219.73 and a 52-week range of $146.37 to $196.41.