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Confinement due to coronavirus boosts use of social media

27% of Turks admit they use social media more than 7 hours a day, 4 times more than before the pandemic. Instagram is the most used, Twitter to be informed, and WhatsApp for fake news.

The confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic has triggered the use of social media among Turks, according to the results of an online study carried out by academics from two Turkish universities in which 629 women and 438 men from all over Turkey have participated.

The survey indicates that Turks have more than doubled the use of social media, going from dedicating a daily average of 2 hours and 10 minutes before the pandemic, to 5 hours and 38 minutes nowadays.

In fact, if 6.6% of Turks acknowledged spending at least 7 hours a day on social media before the coronavirus outbreak, now that percentage has skyrocketed to 27.5% of respondents, who also acknowledge that the time they spend has also increased above 7 hours.

The most used application is Instagram, as admitted by 27.2% of those consulted, followed by WhatsApp (24.7%) and Twitter (21%). Instagram remains in fact as the most used social media among Turks, especially among those between 18 and 35 years old, according to the study. In contrast, Twitter is the favourite among those between 36 and 44 years old, while those over 45 prefer WhatsApp.

Twitter to be informed, WhatsApp for fake news

The study nonetheless points to Twitter as the most reliable platform to stay informed and get the last news; on the other hand, the main platform where the spread of fake news is mainly detected is WhatsApp.

“It can be said that WhatsApp has the effect of frequently sharing true or false content as well as false or manipulated news about the coronavirus pandemic, through messages or user groups,” concludes Fatih Çelik, one of the Turkish academics who has directed this study on the use of social media.