A study published in December by the Independent Journalism Center was aimed at examining the vulnerable groups’ attitude towards media and social networks: their access to media products, the information they search for in the press, and their preferred networks. Thus, the authors of the research have identified five social networks which, according to them, dominate the preferences of the survey participants. The most important one is Facebook, followed by Instagram. Telegram, TikTok, and Odnoklassniki also enjoy great popularity.
When asked, “In which of the following social networks do you spend at least 30 minutes a week?”, 86% of women, 93% of urban young people, and 74% of rural young people said they preferred browsing Facebook. Also, 43% of persons with disabilities, 41% of elderly people, 53% of the Romani, and 64% of refugees have and use a Facebook account.
Instagram is the second most popular platform. More young people from the countryside (78%) have accounts on Instagram than on Facebook. 82% of urban young people have an Instagram account. At the same time, the network is relatively popular among women (44%) and refugees (51%), less popular among the Romani (37%), and is used by few persons with disabilities (14%) and the elderly people (7%).
Rural young people consider the Telegram application “the most private, confidential, and safe platform.” It is mostly used by young people: 72% of people from rural areas and 67% of people from urban areas have an account on this network. Besides, many refugees have a Telegram account (63%). Only 24% of rural women, 32% of urban women, 10% of persons with disabilities, 6% of elderly people, and 24% of the Romani use the platform.
At the same time, only a limited fraction of the refugee respondents (6%) mention that they have an account on Odnoklassniki. This network is used to a certain extent by the rest of the groups, especially by women from rural areas (37%), those from urban areas (32%), and urban young people (32%).
Snapchat, Twitter, and Vkontakte are used to a certain extent by young people and hardly at all by the other groups, whereas LinkedIn is the least used network of all those mentioned.
According to the study, social networks users are mainly young people and refugees. The latter usually use social networks and Viber, Telegram, or Whatsapp groups. The study mentions one of the reasons why young people prefer receiving information from the online environment: it is quick access to any sort of information and the fact that almost each of them owns a smartphone and the Internet connection.