The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a full lockdown in several parts of the world. As a result, people have started to use various apps and services more often. These services include instant messaging apps, video calling apps, and social media platforms. According to a report, WhatsApp has seen the highest surge, i.e. 40 per cent, in its usage. The report, however, doesn’t mention region-wise surge in percentage.
WhatsApp usage increased to 27 per cent during the early stage of the pandemic. This rose to 41 per cent during the mid-phase and then shot to 51 per cent in the late phase. The report by Kantar highlights that Spain witnessed an increase of 76 per cent in the usage of these apps. Further, the report mentioned that WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram saw over 40 per cent increase in their usage from users below the age of 35. People who most actively used these apps belong to the age group of 18 – 34.
Earlier this week, Facebook had said that the messaging on its platforms increased over 50 per cent globally. It also highlighted that video and voice calling on Messenger and WhatsApp doubled in the areas that were hit the most by the pandemic. As expected, the highest numbers came from Italy where people are reported to have spent 70 per cent more time on Facebook-owned apps. The group increased by over 1,000 per cent in the European nation.
The Kantar report also highlighted that these apps were surely the preferred means of communication but not in providing trustworthy news. As per the report, only 11 per cent of people use social media as a source of trustworthy information. About 52 per cent of people said that traditional media like newspapers are trustworthy in providing news. The research firm highlighted that ‘the loss of trust from recent election cycles’ is the reason why people do not trust social media for news.