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Youths led by social media 2017.01.06
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ALMOST half of young Hongkongers rely on social media for information, and that group tends to distrust or is simply dissatisfied with the government.

Those were the key findings of a survey by the Chinese University’s Centre for Youth Studies (青年研究中心) on social media habits and political participation of permanent residents aged 15 to 29.

About 80 percent of those who get their news mostly from social media are doubtful about the government’s performance, compared with 50 percent for those whose news comes from other sources.

Youngsters who rely on social media are exposed to more negative comments about the government.

“Compared to traditional media, social media contains more critical comments towards the government, so negative emotions are built up easily under this atmosphere,” said Stephen Chiu Wing-kai of CUHK’s sociology department.

Chiu said social media is dominated by criticism of the government because authorities seldom use such sites to promote positive information about themselves. He suggested government of.cials revise their youth strategy and try to communicate more via social media.

The study also found youngsters are more active in online political events, with three out of every four respondents sharing political commentaries, expressing political views and signing online petitions.

As for the public perception that youngsters tend to be radical, 40 percent said they actually dislike radicals.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 9 January 2017)

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