Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have played a significant role in election news.
But for India’s presidential election, now underway, BBC News India is delivering its news on two less-traditional social media apps: WhatsApp and WeChat.
Both are among a cadre of apps that allow private messaging, which has become increasingly popular in social media.
BBC News India will post three messages a day to WhatsApp and one a day to WeChat so they don’t “appear intrusive,” BBC News India’s Trushar Barot told Journalism.co.uk.
— Trushar Barot (@Trushar) April 4, 2014
BBC isn’t new to using WhatsApp to report, as it first began doing so last year when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. The experience revealed WhatsApp’s diverse array of users, he said.
“One of the things we [realized] is we’re reaching a very broad demographic and in certain parts of the world the people who use WhatsApp are actually quite poor…That’s a demographic that we don’t generally tend to reach through traditional social media.”
WeChat has also drawn an oppressed demographic, as the Nieman Journalism Lab reports it emerged in China as a citizen journalism tool to basically share news that traditional journalists were getting paid to cover up.