WhatsApp might not be all that popular in the US, but in some places, it's fast becoming a place where people can safely share and get the latest news. According to a study conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, more and more people are beginning to rely on the messaging service instead of on its parent company, Facebook, for news. Sure, 47 percent of the survey's 71,805 respondents from 36 countries still go to the social network to find out what's happening in the world. But the percentage of people using Facebook for news has dropped in more than half of the 36 countries compared to last year.
Next to 47 percent, the percentage (15) of respondents who said they use WhatsApp to get the latest in current affairs sounds positively tiny. However, when divided by country, the app's numbers become much more impressive:
Over half of the Malaysian and 46 percent of the Brazilian participants said they use WhatsApp for news. The service seems to be especially popular in Chile, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain and Turkey, as well. But why exactly are people beginning to turn to the chat app when they want to see what's new? To start with, some carriers in those countries bundle free WhatsApp access with mobile subscriptions. The study says it also helps that the service has end-to-end encryption, making it more appealing to places like Hong Kong and Turkey, where it's dangerous to voice out anti-government sentiments. In addition, Facebook's reputation recently took a beating, since it waited a long time before it even started conjuring up solutions to combat all the fake news shared on the social network.