Half of Vietnamese get news from social media, survey finds

By Minh Nga   January 13, 2018 | 12:55 pm GMT+7
Half of Vietnamese get news from social media, survey finds
Young men surf the internet on their smartphone next to an old man reading printed newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

When social or digital foreign media break stories first, they've already won Vietnamese public's recognition, a propaganda official said.

Vietnamese people love social media, their regular source of daily news, a new survey has found.

Vietnam comes fourth in a survey conducted by Pew Research Center to find out how often people in 38 countries, including both advanced and developing ones, turn to social media to get the news.

While getting news online daily is more common in advanced economies (median of 54 percent) than in emerging and developing ones (median of 23 percent), the difference subsides when only news from social media is taken into account, according to the survey.

"People in advanced economies (median of 36 percent) use social media daily for news at similar rates to those in emerging or developing economies (33 percent)," the Pew Research Center said in a report.

South Korea takes the throne with 57 percent of respondents saying they used social media to get the news several times a day or once a day, followed by Lebanon with 52 percent, Argentina with 51 percent and Vietnam with 48 percent, according to the survey released on Thursday by the nonpartisan American think tank.

In 37 of the 38 countries studied, adults aged 18 to 29 were more likely than those 50 and older to use social media at least once a day for news.

In 10 countries, the gap is at least 50 percentage points, with the biggest difference recorded in Vietnam, at 78 points.

Specifically, as many as 81 percent of Vietnamese respondents aged 18-29 use social media daily to access news, while only 3 percent of those aged 50 and older do so, said the survey which interviewed an average of 1,000 persons in each studied country last year.

Higher income people are also more likely to use social media for daily news than lower income people in 32 surveyed countries, with the biggest gap recorded in Vietnam at 32 percentage points. More than half, or 62 percent, of high income earners in Vietnam get their daily news updates from social networking sites while only 34 percent of low income earners do so. 

“Nowadays, it is the early-bird newspaper, not the major one, that will triumph,” Vo Van Thuong, the head of the Communist Party's propaganda organ, said at a meeting in August last year. When social or digital foreign media break stories first, they've already won public recognition, leaving Vietnam’s mainstream media well behind, he added.

Vietnam has around 64 million Facebook users, accounting for 3 percent of global Facebookers, according to a report released in July last year by We Are Social, a social media marketing and advertising agency.

The country surpassed Thailand and Turkey from the previous report released in January last year to secure the seventh spot. In just six months, the number of Vietnamese active users had increased by 40 percent.

More than half of the Vietnamese population of nearly 92 million are online, and people spend more than two hours each day on average on the social media network, said the report

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