SINGAPORE: Global social media users have surpassed the 5 billion mark, marking a significant milestone in the digital landscape, according to the latest annual report, Digital 2024, released by Meltwater, a global leader in media and social intelligence, and We Are Social, a socially-led creative agency.

While the global digital community celebrates this milestone, the report highlights a concerning trend – misinformation in Singapore.

Misinformation in Singapore

A substantial 65.2% of adults aged 18 and above in Singapore express heightened concerns about distinguishing real information from fake on the internet.

This figure exceeds the global average of 55.8%, shedding light on the urgent need for increased digital literacy and vigilance in the face of misleading content.

Concerns About Online Misinformation
Photo: Meltwater & We Are Social

Screen time of Singaporeans

Contrary to assumptions of Singaporeans being consistently tethered to their screens, the report reveals a surprising pattern.

Despite high internet penetration and mobile connectivity, Singapore users aged 16 to 64 spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on social media daily, slightly below the global average of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

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Similarly, daily internet usage time in Singapore stands at 6 hours and 49 minutes, only marginally exceeding the global timing of 6 hours and 40 minutes.

Social media emerges as a powerhouse in Singapore, with 85.0% of the total population actively participating on various platforms. This surpasses the global average of 62.3%.

Concerns among Singaporean internet users

Key concerns among internet users in Singapore include worries about personal data protection, with 35.9% expressing apprehensions about how companies utilise their online information, surpassing the global average of 31.2%.

Additionally, the report notes that 43.7% of Singaporeans visit social media platforms not primarily to explore brands and content, falling below the global average of 48.9%.

Other key findings in the Digital 2024 report

Despite these concerns, the Digital 2024 report paints a broader picture of the global digital landscape. Active social media user identities have surpassed 5 billion, equivalent to 62.3% of the world’s population, showcasing a year-on-year growth of 5.6%.

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The typical social media user spends 2 hours and 23 minutes daily on their chosen platforms and engages with 6.7 platforms each month.

Instagram has claimed the title of the world’s ‘favourite’ social platform, with 16.5% of internet users between 16 and 64 considering it their most loved platform, pushing WhatsApp into second place with 16.1%.

The report spans 550+ pages, covering various data points across the entire online ecosystem, from social media to smart devices, gaming to social commerce.

Notable highlights include increased digital ad spending by 10% year-on-year, reaching almost $720 billion in 2023, and social ad spending rising by 9.3% to USD $207 billion. Additionally, the typical internet user spends 17 minutes less per day watching TV than the previous year.

Reflecting on these trends, Alexandra Saab Bjertnæs, Chief Strategy Officer at Meltwater, emphasises the need for brands to understand emerging preferences.

She states, “With five billion-plus users, understanding usage patterns and emerging trends is crucial. Brands need to really understand where their target audience is going for information—and shape compelling narratives that engage them with unparalleled precision and authenticity.”

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Nathan McDonald, co-founder and group chief executive at We Are Social, highlights the changing dynamics of online behaviour.

He notes, “Social media continues to be a vital part of the way we connect with one another, from building communities to researching purchases and everything in between.

It’s encouraging to see strong growth across multiple social platforms, each offering something different, whether that’s Pinterest for social commerce or Facebook for connecting with communities.

For marketers, understanding platform nuances – and how to use social media to connect in culturally relevant ways – will be more crucial than ever.

With the rise of social media users comes the rise of misinformation. Be responsible and say it right the first time. /TISG

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