If you’re living in South Africa, chances are you’ve noticed an increase in messaging app use over the past few years. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) just released a report on South Africans’ changing Internet use from 2007-2014, and the results show the rise of instant messaging use in the country.
Particularly, the rise has been attributed to people over the age of 16. Forty percent used their cellphone connectivity last year were using instant messaging. This trumped Facebook and web searches when it came to comparable internet use. Both of these stood at 27 percent, while checking email and weather stood at 13 percent and gaming was less than 15 percent.
IRR said it based its data on cellphone connectivity to measure Internet use because this is how a majority of South African adults access the Net. A lot of this growth in mobile usage can also be attributed to cheaper phone service and easier access as well as South Africa’s growing tech sector. Political benefits are also at the forefront.
“Social media accessed via cellphones would help to ensure that South Africans could freely access and circulate information and ideas despite the best efforts of the state to limit this,” IRR head of research Lerato Moloi said, addding that introducing media tribunals and censoring content would be less effective thanks to the social media usage.