Young people are getting information about protests, police actions and stay-at-home orders from their social media feeds – but the trend isn’t harmless
For many young people, clicking on to Instagram to get the latest news is now as second nature as picking up a daily newspaper once was to generations before. For a site that has traditionally been a platform for sharing lifestyle content rather than hard news, this is a shift in millennials and Gen Z, at a time when news updates seem more important than ever.
Recently published data exploring how people accessed news and information about the coronavirus pandemic found, in the US, for 18- to 24-year-olds (the age group most likely to use social media as a source), over a quarter of respondents used Instagram to access news content within the last week, while 19% used Snapchat and 6% turned to TikTok. In comparison, only 17% used newspapers to access information. Globally, figures reached even higher levels – in Germany, 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds used Instagram alone to access the news, and in Argentina, this reached as high as 49%.
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