Instagram is set to surpass Twitter as a news source in the next year according to a new study from Reuters, as social media platforms put increasing pressure on news outlets.
The 2020 Reuters Institute Digital News study looks at how news is distributed across websites, apps and social media.
It found that while around 28 per cent of people still start their “news journey” on a website or app, 31 per cent use social media for local news and information.
It also found those aged between 18-24 are twice as likely to access their news via social media.
When it comes to what social media platforms people are using for their news, the use of
Instagram for news “has doubled since 2018 and looks likely to overtake Twitter over the next year”.
The report also suggested the COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the uptake of social media platforms as news sources.
“New digital behaviours have also emerged in this crisis that are likely to have long-term implications. Many have joined Facebook or WhatsApp groups for the first time and have engaged in local groups,” said Reuters.
“Young people have consumed more news through services like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
News aggregators such as Google News, combined with social media, are making it increasingly difficult for traditional media outlets to stay competitive, said the report.
“As if this were not enough, dependence on aggregated and mobile content has made it harder for news brands to forge direct relationships with consumers,” said Reuters.
“Our report shows that younger users, especially those now coming into adulthood, are even less
connected with news brands and more dependent on social media.”
It comes as the ACCC prepares to enforce a mandatory code to govern the relationship between digital platforms and media businesses, which will see Google and Facebook pay Australian media companies for news content.
Facebook – which owns Instagram – has this week said if it were to remove news content in Australia altogether “the impact on Facebook’s community metrics and revenues in Australia would not be significant”, according to The Guardian.
“It is not healthy nor sustainable to expect that two private companies, Facebook and Google, are solely responsible for supporting a public good and solving the challenges faced by the Australian media industry,” the company said.
“The code needs to recognise that there is healthy, competitive rivalry in the relationship between digital platforms and news publishers, in that we compete for advertising revenue.”