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Singaporeans and Malaysians are biggest users of social media as primary news source – study

Malaysians and Singaporeans use social media as their primary source of news more than any other market in a nine country study by YouGov for the Reuters Institute.

Nowhere more than in Malaysia and Korea is the internet the most important source of news, although these countries are also where news is the least trusted, the report found.

Q: Which of the following have you used in the last week as a source of news?' Source: Reuters Institute

Q: Which of the following have you used in the last week as a source of news?’ Source: Reuters Institute

Social sites such as Facebook – which has recently been subject to scrutiny for carrying fake news in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as US president – are preferred to television as news sources in Singapore and Malaysia, in contrast to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and the UK, where TV is still relatively strong.

Nowhere more than Singapore are newspapers still regarded as the dominant news source, affirming the market clout of the country’s largest ad medium, the Straits Times. However Singapore shows the biggest gap between young and old in who is consuming print media, a statistic reflected in the ST’s steadily dwindling print readership.

Source: Reuters Institute

Source: Reuters Institute

In Singapore and Malaysia, one quarter of respondents named social media as their main source of news – far higher than in Hong Kong or Taiwan. In Japan and Korea, search and aggregators, including portals such as Yahoo Japan and Naver, are preferred to social media as ways to find news.

'Which of the following have you used in the last week as a source of news?' Source: Reuters Institute

‘Which of the following have you used in the last week as a source of news?’ Source: Reuters Institute

Even among older age groups, television is not seen as a key news source in Singapore and Malaysia as it is among more senior news consumers particularly in the US. In Singapore, only 13% of millennials see TV as their main source of news.

'You’ve used these sources of news in the past week, which would you say is your main source of news?' Source: Reuters Institute

Source: Reuters Institute

It will not come as a surprise that Asian countries, with the exceptions of Japan and Taiwan, are the mostly likely to consumer their news through their smartphones.

Source: Reuters Institute

Source: Reuters Institute

Hong Kong and Taiwan are the leading markets in which people access news via SMS or apps, while Australians are the least likely to use these gateways.

Source: Reuters Institute

Source: Reuters Institute

Malaysia, a country that has been hit by major international headlines such as the 1MDB saga, and the disappearance of the MH370, is where news is the least trusted, with the exception of South Korea, where there is more of a sense of undue political and commercial influence on news.

'Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘I think you can trust most news most of the time.’ Source: Reuters

‘Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘I think you can trust most news most of the time.’ Source: Reuters

The study reveals that more people say they trust news organisations than say they trust journalists, and Malaysians have the least faith in their journalists.

Trust in journalists

Q: ‘I think you can trust most journalists most of the time.’ Source: Reuters

Taiwanese, Hongkongers and Malaysians, who typically tend to be very vocal online, are the most likely to get involved in a news story, either by writing a blog, joining a campaign, or commenting on a news story.

Source: Reuters Institute

Source: Reuters Institute

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