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COVID-19 News: WhatsApp Usage Grows by 40%

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

WhatsApp has seen unprecedented growth in the last few months as average usage has risen by more than 40%. Uptake in the popular messaging platform can be widely attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak across the globe – reports data researcher Kantar.

Since initially coming in to play in late December 2019, the coronavirus has forced countries into self-isolation and quarantine – leaving millions of people to rely on social media and technology to forge new paths of communication and connectivity.

According to the research, “WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected”. The platform has seen usage in the early phase of the pandemic increase by 27%, usage in the mid-phase increase by 41% and usage in the late phase increase by 51%.

Kantar’s global report takes a look at “consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic”. The study, which covered 25,000 consumers across 30 markets, was done to make sure that brands could stay “connected to their customers during the crisis”.

Facebook struggling to keep the lights on

Facebook-owned WhatsApp isn’t the only social media service seeing an almost insane increase in usage. ITNA’s Luis Monzon reported that Facebook itself is experiencing a surge in usage.

According to Monzon, “the majority of this new usage is concentrated on private messaging and video calling, tools that Facebook manages but does not monetize”. Meaning that the social media goliath is effectively losing money “all the while it struggles to keep its communication tools online and afloat”.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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