A little under half of the people in the United Kingdom and Finland said they first referred to news websites or apps when using a smartphone for news, according to Reuters most recent Digital News Report.
While around half of people in the United States and Italy said they used social media and messaging apps when initially engaging with news on their smartphones.
Some of the country-by-country differences are related to the prominence of specific apps or media literacy programmes. The United Kingdom’s high news website usage can be partially explained by the prominence and popularity of the BBC news app.
While Finland heads an extensive media literacy programme, which is run and funded by the Finnish government. The programme teaches people how to understand and identify questionable information online, which is much more likely to appear on social media sites and messaging apps. Finland recently came out on top of a media literacy ranking put together by the Open Society Foundation.
Overall, the study found that about two-thirds of respondents used smartphones for news on a weekly basis, with that number nearly doubling over the past seven years for all countries. How people access news impacts both the quality and types of stories they end up seeking out and engaging with.