To understand the magnitude of misinformation and disinformation as a problem on social media across Asian economies and what social media platforms require scrutiny, we need to recognize the extent on social media is used as a source of news and what platforms are being used as a news source. For this purpose, The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report is a valuable resource as it covers news consumption habits across multiple Asian economies.
According to the Report’s study, there is a significant diversity of news consumption across Asia. On the low side is Japan where only 21% reportedly access news through social media as a source of new in 2018. In South Korea, 29% access news via social media.
On the high side is Malaysia where 72% access news via social media. In Singapore, 63% of the surveyed sample population access news through social media, which is up just 2% on the previous year. In Taiwan, 58% access news through social media platforms.
In most survey APEC economies, Facebook and Youtube are the most prominent social media platforms for accessing news. In Malaysia, 64% access news via Facebook, which is up 6% on the previous year, while 33% access news via Youtube. In Singapore, 52% use Facebook to access news, which is a slight drop of 3% from the previous year. However, In Japan, Facebook does not figure as a leading platform for news. The most prominent platform for accessing news is Youtube, with 19% reporting it as a source of news.
Apart from Facebook and Youtube, the other major social media sources of news are messaging applications, in particular, Whatsapp. In Malaysia, 54% of people access news via Whatsapp. In Singapore, the number is 42%. In Taiwan, where Line is a popular platform, 53% access news line the messaging platform, which is up 8% on the previous year. In South Korea, 39% access news through messaging platform KakaoTalk.