Fakes or facts. Can Ukrainian youth see the difference?
Where do they get information from, and how do they perceive news flow? All of these questions were surveyed in the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) U-Report and Detector Media poll on media literacy.
The U-Report project and internet platform ‘Media Detector’ surveyed media literacy, timed to coincide with World Media and Information Literacy Week. A total of 4,237 young people from all regions of Ukraine took part in the survey via telegram bot (age distribution: 14-18 years old – 11.2 per cent; 19-24 years old – 40.1 per cent; 25-34 years old – 37.8 per cent; 35+ years – 7.6 per cent).
So where do young people receive news from?
A total of 83.4 per cent of the respondents get information from social media, 23.7 per cent read news on internet media, and 15.8 per cent watch news on YouTube. Another 26.8 per cent of the respondents said they get news mostly from speaking with relatives, colleagues, friends and neighbours.
What signs do people use to be sure they read credible news?
A total of 54.8 per cent of the respondents pay attention if news includes a primary source link, 38.6 per cent trust information with photos or videos describing the text, 33.5 per cent read information placed in a media they trust, and 8.5 per cent of the respondents prefer to intuitively determine trustworthy news.
Do young people check information received from traditional and social media?
A total of 47.7 per cent of our respondents check information to find its primary source, or pay attention to facts and evidence in a particular news item. Only 6.4 per cent do not have time or do not consider it necessary to check information.
How exactly do the audience check information?
A total of 55 per cent of the respondents look for additional information about the news they read or check it with official sources (46.3 per cent). A total of 17.3 per cent analyze sources where they receive certain news from, as well as their authors. And 9.4 per cent of the respondents even use information checking sites and programs such as StopFake, Bellingcat, Media Detector or Truth Goggles, and FotoForensics.
What determines young people's trust in an expert or a blogger as a news author?
A total of 72.9 per cent of the respondents will trust a blogger or expert if their posts contain confirmation of what was said. A total of 29.5 per cent pay attention to an expert’s education. For 28.2 per cent of the respondents, the presence of broadcasts, comments in authoritative media or the presence of information about the blogger or expert on the internet will be grounds for trusting the expert. For just 7.9 per cent, the blogger or expert’s number of followers will be a strong reason for trusting them.
How does a young audience react to clickbait?
A total of 53.1 per cent of the respondents admitted they sometimes see a "bait headline" and open the news item out of curiosity. Meanwhile, 38.7 per cent of the respondents understand that it is clickbait and do not even open the link. Only 2.1 per cent of the respondents do not know what clickbait is.
Which media do young people consume the most often to read news?
The list of the most popular bloggers among young people is led by the Telegram channel Lachen Pysche (author: blogger Ihor Lachenkov). STERNENKO YouTube channel takes second place. The blogs Telebachennya Toronto (YouTube channel), Novynach (Telegram channel) and Ukraine NOW (Telegram channel) also came out on top in terms of attention from young viewers.
The most popular media among young people is the national television and radio company Suspilne. Such media as TSN (television news service 1+1 media), Hromadske, Ukrainska Pravda and Svidomi also entered into the top five.
What do the survey results actually mean?
According to Vadym Miskyi, a programme director at the Detector Media NGO, the survey showed a cross-section of media consumption practices and critical thinking skills among the young audience. The most popular platform of information consumption for young people is social media, so more attention should be paid to this by both the media and the administration of social networks to prevent disinformation.
"In general, it is noticeable that the interviewed young people have good media literacy skills, check facts and can distinguish distorted information by certain characteristics,” says Miskyi. “However, this survey is not representative because we did not build a sample in advance but interviewed everyone who wanted to take part in the survey. It is important to know that many young people consume information from quality media. However, it is obvious that not every young person has developed critical thinking skills. And also, developed media literacy skills are less common in older age groups. It has been shown by the results of the annual study ‘Media Literacy Index of Ukrainians’ by Detector Media. Young people who have this advantage, critical thinking skills, today have a great responsibility. Young people should transfer knowledge about conscious media consumption to their environment, relatives, friends and loved ones. Thus, we can raise the media literacy level of the entire society".