ARTICLE: “News-finds-me” perception is linked to social media use and political knowledge across countries

Picture: untitled by Priscilla Du Breez, license CC0 1.0

Social media has become the most important news source for many, and its use for finding news has increased tremendously over the past years. The “news finds me” perception (NFM) refers to the idea some have, that due to the vast amount of information available online and in social media, they don’t have to actively seek news. In other words, that the news will find them. Earlier research has shown that having this perception might be bad, as people might not be as well informed in reality as they think they are.

Homero Gil de Zúñiga of the University of Vienna and Universidad Diego Portales, Nadine Strauss of the University of Oxford, and Brigitte Huber of the University of Vienna, studied NFM conducting an online survey (N = 10 644) in 10 countries. These included Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

The results showed differences between countries. Having a NFM perception among respondents was highest in Spain (85%) and lowest in the US (36%). Across countries, there was a positive association between NFM and social media use for news. Also, those who believed that the news will find them tended to be less interested in politics and public affairs.

The researchers found that, across the 10 societies, the NFM perception is associated with age, social media news use and many other meaningful variables.

“Across most countries, those scoring high on NFM seem to be young, less politically interested, and less politically knowledgeable; cast their vote in general or local elections less frequently than those who score low on NFM; and rely heavily on social media for their news diet”, the authors conclude.

The article “The Proliferation of the “News Finds Me” Perception Across Societies” was published in the International Journal of Communication and is available (open access) on the publisher’s website.

Picture: untitled by Priscilla Du Breez, license CC0 1.0

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