By Corina Oliquino
FilAm Star Correspondent

Market research company GlobalWebIndex’s latest flagship report on social media trends found the Philippines as the leading country where people spend the most time on social media globally for four hours and five minutes during a typical day for seven years now.

The report, released mid-August, surveyed 278,359 respondents from across 45 countries from the fourth quarter of 2018 until the first quarter of 2019.

The Philippines’ record is hours higher than 44 other countries, whose digital consumers spend only an average of two hours and 23 minutes per day on social media and messaging.

The country topped the list for seven consecutive years now, with Brazil second at an average of three hours and 45 minutes of daily social media usage followed by Colombia, Nigeria and Argentina with daily social media usage ranging from three hours and 36 to 27 minutes.

From 2010, the Philippines’ daily social media usage increased to two hours and 49 minutes from last year’s four hours and 18 minutes.

The report also explained the decrease in social media usage, blaming it to the “proliferation of digital well-being tools” as time spent on social media either decreased or stayed the same in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the 2018 data on the 48 countries surveyed.

“A look at the trended data here suggests that we might be approaching saturation in social media consumption,” GlobalWebIndex reported.

“This is likely a result of many internet users having a better awareness of the time they spend looking at screens, as well as the perceived negative effects associated with social media usage, and wanting a digital detox as a result. This trend has continued,” it added.

Younger groups and their social media use
In a report by The Philippine Star, GlobalWebIndex noted “younger groups are the most enthusiastic about social media” as the majority of users worldwide are aged between 16 to 24 years old, with 72 percent of them using browsing social media while watching TV.

“The importance of messaging apps to this demographic is a key reason behind this, as is the centrality of smartphones to their digital lives. Additionally, it is important to note that this consumption is simultaneous rather than sequential,” the report said, noting “the internet populations of fast-growth markets tend to be younger than most mature markets.”

“This provides clear context for why the topline figures for daily time spent on social media differ so significantly between countries, from a high of four hours in the Philippines, to much lower figures of around one hour 15 minutes in some European countries,” the report said.

“But the effects aren’t down to age alone. Even among 16-24s, certain markets primarily in Asia and Latin America stand out for their occupation with social media. Particularly notable are Argentina (4:17), the Philippines (4:16) and Colombia (4:12),” it added.

The Philippine Star also cited MSNBC and Bloomberg’s special reports indicating “social media, particularly Facebook, helped in handing the presidency to Rodrigo Duterte.”

“Facebook is a global company and it was ground zero for this [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Duterte playbook, long before Zuckerberg was playing naive about fake news,” MSNBC said, with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg previously denying similar claims on the rise of Donald Trump in the US.

“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s now what we stand for,” Zuckerberg explained when confronted with his company’s role in the rise of US President Donald Trump to power.

Earlier this year, Facebook also removed several pages, accounts, groups and Instagram accounts, including a combination of authentic and fake accounts which frequently post about local and political news linked to a network organized by Nic Gabunada, who handled Duterte’s social media campaign, for “coordinating inauthentic behavior.”