Wednesday 25 March 2020 12:01 pm

Coronavirus: Whatsapp usage jumps 40 per cent during lockdown

Whatsapp usage has surged since the outbreak of coronavirus as people increasingly turn to the social media app to stay connected.

Overall, the messaging platform has enjoyed a 40 per cent increase in usage, rising to 51 per cent for countries in the late phase of the pandemic.

The largest rise came in Spain, where time spent on Whatsapp rose 76 per cent, according to figures released today by market research firm Kantar.

Meanwhile in China, where the coronavirus outbreak started, local social media apps such as Wechat and Weibo have experienced a 58 per cent increase in usage.

The rise in usage across all social media platforms has been most pronounced among 16 to 34-year-olds. Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a usage rise of more than 40 per cent among this age group.

It comes amid a wider increase in media consumption during the pandemic as people across the globe have been told to stay at home to halt the spread of the disease.

The research revealed that in later stages of the pandemic, web browsing has increased 70 per cent, TV viewing was up 63 per cent and social media engagement has risen 61 per cent.

UK broadcasters and radio stations have all reported a huge surge in audience numbers, with a particular rise in the number of people tuning into news programming during the crisis.

Traditional print and broadcast news organisations remain the most trusted source of information, with 52 per cent of people identifying them as a “trustworthy” source, according to the survey.

This is ahead of government agency websites, which are regarded as trustworthy by only 48 per cent of people, suggesting government measures to tackle the virus are not providing citizens with assurances.

Only 11 per cent of people think social media sites are trustworthy, highlighting the sharp drop in trust following misinformation and interference problems in recent election cycles.