By: Natasja Pitcher, Tracy Thomas, and Trishka Villar
The first social media platform, SixDegrees.com, was launched in 1997 (Ngak, 2011). Almost 25 years later, research shows that over 3.6 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, used social media in 2020, and there is a projected 85 percent increase for this number in the next three years (“Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025”, 2020). This mass influx of users to social media platforms has revolutionised the journalism industry and changed how news is gathered and shared in society (Vázquez-Herrero et al., 2019, p. 1-13). Although Instagram was created in 2010, 13 years after the first social media platform was published (“The Evolution of Social Media: How Did It Begin and Where Could It Go Next?”, n.d), it now hosts almost half of social media users in the world. Many news media organisations use Instagram, and in recent years have become more active on the platform (Byrd & Denney, 2018). According to a recent article, with 20.3 million followers, BBC News is the most followed new media account on Instagram (“Most popular social networks worldwide as of October 2021, ranked by number of active users”, 2021). The article also states that BBC News’ Instagram “regularly drives more than 700,000 clicks back to the News site every week – more than five times higher than the 2019 average” (Tobitt, 2022). The research team believes that in addition to access to a broad audience, the versatility of storytelling mediums and the ability to have a personal interaction with the audience on Instagram contributes to why it is a preferred platform for news media organisations (Kim & Dennis, 2019, pp. 1025-1039). This research explores the impact of Instagram on CBC news coverage. Through a quantitative research method that uses survey and content analysis, the research determines how Instagram has changed how news is shared, received, and perceived in society.