Most Indians trust news on Whatsapp, study finds

Majority of Indians trust news they receive on Whatsapp and use the messaging app to get news on a daily basis, according to a new study released on Thursday by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The study examines “the relationship between trust in news and how people think about news on digital platforms”, focusing on Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, and YouTube. The study based on survey data from Brazil, India, the UK, and the US, is part of the institute’s Trust in News Project.
Seventy seven percent of the respondents in India trusted the news media in general. Forty one percent of them trusted news on Facebook, 51 percent trusted news on Google, 27 percent trusted news on Instagram, 15 percent on Tik Tok, 25 percent on Twitter, 54 percent on Whatsapp; and 51 percent on YouTube.

“Despite comparatively lower trust in news on platforms, many hold broadly positive feelings towards them, especially Google and YouTube, as well as WhatsApp in Brazil and India,” read the report.

The study reveals that In India, those who are politically interested trust news the most on YouTube.

“For most platforms, people are more likely to say they use them to connect with other people in their lives or for entertainment or to pass the time rather than to find out information about current affairs,” the study observes.

In India 46 percent of the people surveyed use Whatsapp for news on a daily basis, behind Brazil with 58 percent.

Another key finding of the survey is that many “believe journalists try to manipulate audiences to serve the agendas of powerful politicians or care more about getting attention than reporting the facts.

Fifty eight percent of those surveyed in India believe journalists “try to manipulate the public to serve the agendas of powerful politicians”, whereas 57 percent think journalists independently verify information they report.

51 percent of the respondents in India believe YouTube gives misleading information.