The Digital News Report 2017 found that Malaysians are the world’s largest users of WhatsApp at 51 per cent.

The report also found that Facebook and YouTube are also popular with Malaysians, with 58 per cent and 26 per cent users respectively, and WeChat and Instagram, with 13 per cent.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak noting these, said the report also mentioned Malaysians as getting 86 per cent of their news feed from social media, 45 per cent from publications, 54 per cent from television and 15 per cent from radio.

“Smartphones are used as the main device, at 65 per cent, computers (45 per cent) and tablets (18 per cent),” he said in his latest posting at www.sskeruak.blogspot.my, today.

According to him, a study made by another organisation, TNS Global similarly found Malaysians as being the largest group of WhatsApp users, at 77 per cent, and Facebook Messenger, at 41 per cent.

Salleh attributed the findings to Malaysia’s good internet facilities and penetration.

According to him, WhatsApp was the main choice for consumers because of its many advantages such as simplicity and speed in communication and information sharing, and effective interfaces within an organisation as every instruction or alert could be sent without time restriction, and saves cost.

He said Whatsapp also helped the ordinary businessman to promote his (or her) endeavour without spending a lot of money, and widely used as an effective political campaign tool.

“Just imagine a WhatsApp group with 200 members. If someone has 10 WhatsApp groups, in a short time he can share information with 2,000 people,” he said.

However, Salleh noted that WhatsApp did have its disadvantages, of which the most glaring was when it was used to disseminate false information to tarnish a person’s image.

“I support freedom of information, but don’t use WhatsApp to undermine the credibility of others with false news. WhatsApp has a huge impact on society. Its power is like a sharp knife that can injure,” he said. – Bernama

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