July 27, 2020
Young people are getting information about protests, police actions and stay-at-home orders from their Social Media feeds – but the trend isn’t harmless
Why are millennials and Gen Z turning to Instagram as a news source?
For many young people, clicking on to Instagram to get the latest news is now as second nature as picking up a daily newspaper once was to generations before. For a site that has traditionally been a platform for sharing lifestyle content rather than hard news, this is a shift in millennials and Gen Z, at a time when news updates seem more important than ever.
Recently published data exploring how people accessed news and information about the Coronavirus pandemic found, in the US, for 18- to 24-year-olds (the age group most likely to use social media as a source), over a quarter of respondents used Instagram to access news content within the last week, while 19% used Snapchat and 6% turned to TikTok. In comparison, only 17% used newspapers to access information. Globally, figures reached even higher levels – in Germany, 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds used Instagram alone to access the news, and in Argentina, this reached as high as 49%.
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Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

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