Open and Pay TV are the ones that have the most engaged news consumers
Those who get their articles from apps or news sites are the ones with the most political knowledge
After social networks, the least informed audience is the one that trusts the different television formats
« Blessed social networks » is perhaps one of the most popular phrases that are repeated both in Mexico and in other parts of the world, in each country in its own style. Certainly thanks to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, access to information has been largely democratized. They are also channels for transmitting important data and events, which gives the community enormous weight. But they are not the best place to get news.
At least so points out a study by the Pew Research Center. The institution analyzed the dominance of the population of the United States (USA) in issues such as politics and the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, he examined how vulnerable they are to believing conspiracy theories. Respondents were separated according to the main channel by which they follow the news, such as TV, radio, print or digital platforms. And those who trust social media are at a distinct disadvantage.
It was found that users who follow the news through platforms such as Facebook not only follow world events less consistently. It was also shown, in a series of 18 questions about political knowledge and familiarity with common events of the last days, that they do not have a good command of them. Conspiracies, such as that the pandemic was purposely created, are more common among social media fans.
What does this mean about news consumption?
On other occasions, the role of social networks in disinformation has been discussed. In the wake of the pandemic, several groups of medical specialists asked Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to stop the spread of fake news. These same platforms have repeatedly had to join forces to drop conspiracy theories within their communities. They have even started to pay outside agents to help them in this battle.
On the Pew Research Center study, there are a couple of observations to make. Although this is a reputable source, the conclusions are based on self-reported behaviors. In this type of study, it should always be borne in mind that the results are not always a perfect reflection of reality. He also studied the consumption of news in the US. Although there are similarities between the two nations, the situation in Mexico is probably somewhat different.
But there is no doubt that, in one way or another, social networks in this and other countries contribute to disinformation, to one extent or another. The mere fact that these platforms filter news and content according to preferences and habits contributes to each one forming a very partial idea of reality. For people to be informed, they must be willing to find sources from various channels and points of view. Something that not everyone really wants to do.
The influence of social networks
These discoveries from the Pew Research Center help to put more stress on the relationship between news and social media. In many ways, Facebook and its rivals have been said to condition consumption of the media. Besides, there are initiatives that have the objective that these platforms develop their own “newsrooms”. To this must be added the eternal challenge of income, that both groups are constantly fighting.
In addition, it would be naive to think that this is the first study that talks about the effect that social networks have on the news cycle and its consumption. According to some studies, the presence of digital platforms has contributed to increasing the weight of various opinion leaders. Other experts point out that it is affecting the speed with which information is generated and obtained. And according to Social Media Today, it even modifies which topics are covered or not.
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