Majority of the people in India still consume news on television or newspapers. Only three percent of the eligible voters consume news on social media while 66 percent of people have no social media access.
However, according to a latest survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), social media has played a substantial role in influencing the voters in the 2019 Lok sabha elections that were swept by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to the survey, while 25 percent of the people who use social media do not believe the news that they get from it, it is instrumental in building a perception for or against a particular political party.
The survey also suggests that more people belonging to the upper castes use social media actively.
Here are some highlights of the CSDS survey:
- Four in every five respondents who had a high exposure to social media claimed to have heard about the slogan popularised by the Congress, ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ and the BJP’s counter to it ‘Main bhi chowkidar’
- One in every two who were not exposed to social media was found to have no knowledge about these slogans.
- Facebook usage went up by more than three times and Whatsapp usage by more than four times in the last five years
- YouTube is the third most popular social media platform after Facebook and WhatsApp currently in terms of usage
- Twitter usage saw a six-fold increase in the last five years, although it seems to have declined in comparison to 2018
- While social media usage is maximum among the youth, majority of the users are in the age group of 18-25.
- 75 percent of the women voters are not on social media.
- Women users of social media across all platforms comprise only a third of the total user base still, with only a marginal increase in last two years
- Three in every four women voters in India have no exposure to social media at all
- Eastern India has the lowest exposure to social media, southern the highest
- Upper castes continue to dominate online social networks, Dalits and tribals lag behind
- Those who believe India to be a Hindu-only region were between 14 to 17 percent across all the categories
- One in every two voters who were not using any of the social media apps could never know about the NYAY scheme
- One in every four respondents, irrespective of their usage patterns, claimed to have no trust at all on the news shared across social media platforms.
(With inputs from the CSDS survey.)
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