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Media Literacy and Academic Research (Vol. 1, No. 2, 2018)

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Abstract and Figures

Media Literacy and Academic Research is a scientific journal focused on the academic reflection of media and information literacy issues, media education, critical thinking, digital media and new trends in related areas of media and communication studies. The journal is devoted to addressing contemporary issues and future developments related to the interdisciplinary academic discussion, the results of empirical research and the mutual interaction of expertise in media and information studies, media education as well as their sociological, psychological, political, linguistic and technological aspects. Media Literacy and Academic Research is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal publish edtwice a year. The journal is international and interdisciplinary, inviting contributions from across the globe and from various academic disciplines of social sciences. It focuses on theoretical and empirical studies, research results, as well as related to the new trends, practices and other academic a research areas. Also encouraged are literature reviews, innovative initiatives, best practices in online teaching, institutional policies, standards and assessment. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence. The members of the journal´s Editorial Board are members of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), UNESCO-UNAOC UNITWIN Network for Media and Information Literacy, European Association for Viewers Interests (EAVI), The Slovak EU Kids Online Team and Media Literacy Expert Group.
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Editorial Board
Editor-In-Chief
Norbert Vrabec
Deputy Managing Editor
Monika Hossová
Indexing Process and Technical Editor
Marija Hekelj
Technical Editor and Distribution
Vladimír Ovsenák
Proofreading Team and English Editors
Zuzana Benková, František Rigo, Michael Valek
Photo Editor
Juliána Odziomková
Grac Production Coordinator
Martin Graca
Data Visualisation and Infographics
Ján Proner
Web Editor
Andrej Brník
Editorial Team
Slavomír Gálik, Martin Solík, Viera Kačinová, Oľga Škvareninová, Nataša Slavíková, Jozef Tinka
Advisory Board
Piermarco Aroldi (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano, Italy)
Sussene Febles (University of Matanzas, Cuba)
Alexander Fedorov (Russian Association for Film and Media Education, Russia)
Jan Jirák (Metropolitan University Prague, Czech Republic)
Igor Kanižaj (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
Miguel Vicente Mariño (University of Valladolid, Spain)
Radek Mezulánik (Jan Amos Komenský University in Prague, Czech Republic)
Stefan Michael Newerkla (University of Vienna, Austria)
Gabriel Paľa (University of Prešov, Slovak Republic)
Veronika Pelle (Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary)
Hana Pravdová (University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, Slovak Republic)
Charo Sádaba (University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain)
Anna Stolińska (Pedagogical University of Kraków, Poland)
Zbigniew Widera (University of Economics in Katowice, Poland)
Markéta Zezulkova (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic)
Yao Zheng (Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, China)
About the journal
Media Literacy and Academic Research is a scientic journal focused on the academic reection of media
and information literacy issues, media education, critical thinking, digital media and new trends in related
areas of media and communication studies. The journal is devoted to addressing contemporary issues and
future developments related to the interdisciplinary academic discussion, the results of empirical research
and the mutual interaction of expertise in media and information studies, media education as well as their
sociological, psychological, political, linguistic and technological aspects.
Media Literacy and Academic Research is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal published twice a year. The
journal is international and interdisciplinary, inviting contributions from across the globe and from various
academic disciplines of social sciences. It focuses on theoretical and empirical studies, research results, as
well as papers related to the new trends, practices and other academic a research areas. Also encouraged
are literature reviews, innovative initiatives, best practices in online teaching, institutional policies, standards
and assessment. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of
signicance and scientic excellence.
The members of the journal´s Editorial Board are members of the European Communication Research and
Education Association (ECREA), UNESCO-UNAOC UNITWIN Network for Media and Information Literacy,
European Association for Viewers Interests (EAVI), The Slovak EU Kids Online Team and Media Literacy
Expert Group.
The journal is now indexed in these databases: Ulrich’s Periodical Directory, CEEOL, CEJSH, Index
Copernicus.
The complete version of Media Literacy and Academic Research’s Editorial Policy is available online at
www.mlar.sk.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
Vol. 1, No. 2, December 2018, price 5€
ISSN: 2585 - 8726
EV 4956 / 19
Publisher
Faculty of Mass Media Communication
University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava
Námestie Jozefa Herdu 2
917 01 Trnava
SLOVAK REPUBLIC
https://fmk.sk/en/, www.mlar.sk
Fakulta masmediálnej komunikácie
Faculty of Mass Media Communica
tion
Editorial
Dear readers!
You are holding the second issue of the scientic journal Media Literacy and
Academic Research. We are very pleased that the thematic areas with which
our journal deals are dynamic and are at the centres of interest of many
researchers. Thanks to that in this issue of the scientic journal Media Literacy
and Academic Research you will nd interesting studies on current aairs in
the elds of media, media communication and media literacy. They deal with
the issues of new media, social networks, fake news, reality shows or the future
of print media.
The study of the future of print media is dedicated to the topic of augmented reality implementation in print
journalism, and thus the linking of traditional and new media with the aim of acquiring readers. One study
deals with a discussion on social network environments which also examines the motivation of users to
engage in discussions and present their opinion. Such discussions are often sharp and controversial, and
can also relate to negative phenomena in the media – fake news and hoaxes. This topic is dealt with by
another study on post-factual society. Social networks often oer spaces for spreading this phenomenon.
The spread of these phenomena is also aided by the fact that audiences believe more in information based
on emotional and personal beliefs than on objective facts. An interesting topic is also the issue of reality
TV and the use of persuasive and manipulative communication in this TV genre. The study also deals with
stereotypes that we (in most cases) consider to be negative media phenomena. The stereotyping presented
in the media can support the formation of negative prejudices or their deeper rooting in society’s perceptions.
However, the problem may also be stereotyping in interpersonal communication which is handled by the
author of another study. It focuses more on gender stereotypes and how they can form a barrier in the
communication process leading to conict. In addition to scientic studies in the journal, we have also
included an interview with the accredited linguistic professor Zoltán Kövecses. Prof. Kövecses talks about
current trends in new media, but also about how current liberalization tendencies can aect language and
education. The media and research news in this eld are concerned with the current topics of fake news
and opportunities for controlling and prevention, media manipulation as well as raising the media literacy
level, protecting against negative media pitfalls and strengthening critical thinking skills. Two reviews in this
issue of the journal are also focused on media education and critical thinking about media. They are two
reviews of current professional publications by authors from the eld of media and media literacy.
The goal of Media Literacy and Academic Research editorial oce is to provide space for the publication
of scientic knowledge, research and theoretical studies in the eld of media literacy, media, media
communication and related elds. We are pleased with the academic public interest in our academic
magazine, and we believe that in this new issue of the academic journal you will nd topics in which you
are interested
Pleasant reading,
Monika Hossová
Deputy Managing Editor of Media Literacy and Academic Research
Contents
Studies
The Future of Newspapers: a Thrilling Encounter with Augmented Reality .................................................6
Ladislava Knihová
Exchange of Views Presented on Facebook: Discussions and Their Participants ....................................14
Pavel Pešek
Fake News and Disinformation: Phenomenons of Post-Factual Society ..................................................27
Monika Hossová
The Inuence of Facebook and Twitter on the Academic Performance
of Postgraduate Students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria .................................................................36
Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah
Persuasive-Communication and Manipulative-Communication Concepts
in Television Programme of the Reality TV Genre ......................................................................................51
Veronika Gondeková
Gender-Based Stereotypes in Interpersonal Communication ...................................................................60
Derya Gül Ünlü
News
Report of Hleg on Fake News and Online Disinformation .........................................................................74
Ľubica Bôtošová
Google is Introducing a New Feature for Fact Checking ...........................................................................78
Alexandra Alföldiová
The Media Manipulation Initiative: It is Helpful to Clearly Dierentiate Between
Fake News Intended to Be Satire from Hyper-Partisan News Sites ..........................................................80
Miroslav Kapec
The Promises, Challenges, and Futures of Media Literacy ........................................................................82
Nikola Kaňuková
Non-Consensual Sharing of Sexts.............................................................................................................84
Veronika Moravčíková
Trust Me .....................................................................................................................................................86
Juliána Odziomková
Interview
We Are not to Judge How People Should Speak
Interview with professor Zoltán Kövecses .................................................................................................89
František Rigo
Reviews
Media Education and Teacher Training ......................................................................................................93
Viera Kačinová
Media, Lies and the Super-Fast Brain .......................................................................................................95
Marija Hekelj
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
ABSTRACT
The objective of this study is to examine and better understand the impact of new technologies on multimedia
journalism, mainly from the viewpoint of augmented reality (AR). Then, in the context of literature review, and
in view of recent real-world examples of AR experience introduced by Harvard Business Review, the author
will explore and critically evaluate the idea of using AR as a tool to help attract customers to newspapers
and other print media. Apart from compelling content, newspapers can start oering a thrilling and enjoyable
experience thanks to the implementation of innovative technologies. Thus, they can enhance multimedia
journalism and take it to a whole new level. The study is complemented by an empirical probe focused on
the current preferred ways of reading newspapers by readers in both the Czech Republic and the Slovak
Republic. The survey also reveals the level of the survey respondents’ awareness and imagination of ‘live
images’ as an engaging part of media content. Simultaneously, specic examples of AR used in dierent
industries are delineated and associated questions and directions for further research are suggested.
KEY WORDS
Augmented reality. AR. Augmented reality strategy. Mobile technologies. Multimedia journalism. Print media.
Smart connected products.
The Future of Newspapers: a Thrilling
Encounter with Augmented Reality
Ladislava Knihová
photo: FunkyFocus
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 7Studies
1. Introduction
In view of noticeable changes in readers’ media consumption preferences and their shift to digital editions
of news, it is logical that newspaper publishers are worried about their print media’s declining circulation
numbers. They continuously look for new business models, advertising revenues and ways of engaging
their readers. For many publishing houses the situation is not optimistic.
Seeing it from a dierent perspective, AR may represent a new hope for print media. Readers’ imagination
has always been vivid. Moreover, with good reason, writers sometimes claim that a good metaphor is worth
a thousand pictures. However, taking readers ‘on a journey’ beyond the printed page is a new phenomenon
worth exploring. Thanks to AR, people can watch a video/video animation, or any other unexpected content.
Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR oers additional content that is usually interesting, informative and enjoyable.
It requires only a smartphone with a mobile app to watch this content ‘come to life’.
In the business world, AR has been used in product promotion for almost a decade. One of the rst
and most highly successful companies in this eld was the UK-based company Blippar®. It specializes
in AR and computer vision, harnessing these technologies in its attempts to bridge the physical and the
digital. Among the company’s rst clients were Heinz Ketchup and Maybelline; Blippar has also prepared
solutions in political marketing (for Barack Obama’s rst presidential campaign) and in the music industry
(a campaign for Justin Bieber).1
In terms of transferring AR’s potential into the world of print media, we can consider its use not just
on printed pages but also with inserts (leaets or yers) or, perhaps, as the most useful part of printed
catalogues. In addition, a cover page visual can bring readers a real-life experience and these live images
can be successfully used for sales promotion
2. Literature Review and Conceptual Background
Currently, the idea of using AR is somewhat innovative - not merely in, and by, the media. Therefore, it is
this study’s author’s aim to put AR into a broader context and provide the reader with the latest information
based on relevant research literature, including recent studies and professional articles. The literature review
focuses mainly on authors who are concerned with innovative media channels, mobile video, mobile AR
applications and AR used by journalists. Recent global research projects’ results complement the conceptual
background.
The starting point is undoubtedly the well-known statement by Marshall McLuhan explaining that the form
of a message (print, visual, musical, etc.) largely determines the ways in which that message is perceived
by the recipient. “Already in his time, McLuhan argued that modern electronic communications (including
radio, television, lms, and computers) would have far-reaching sociological, aesthetic, and philosophical
consequences, to the point of actually altering the ways in which we experience the world.”2
The traditional media channels have been complemented by a number of new ones, mainly of a digital
nature. Many of them are highly innovative, including social media and mobile communication tools. As
long ago as 2013, the author J. V. Pavlik, in his research, addressed the question of innovations as the key
to the viability of news media in the digital age.3
Taking into account the changes in media consumption preferences, including growing mobile access to
the Internet, it is important to point out the increasing popularity of mobile video formats.Written articles are
waning in popularity, especially among millennials. Deloitte Global’s recent research revealed that, in 2018,
some 16% of respondents are so fond of videos that they shoot their own videos at least once a week.4
1 Augmented Reality & Computer Vision Solutions – Blippar. [online]. [2018-04-04]. Available at: <https://www.blippar.
com>.
2 The medium is the message, Dene The medium is the message at Dictionary.com. [online]. [2018-03-20]. Available
at: <http://www.dictionary.com/browse/the-medium-is-the-message>.
3 PAVLIK, J. V.: Innovation and the Future of Journalism. [online]. [2018-03-19] Available at: <http://www.tandfonline.
com/doi/abs/10.1080/21670811.2012.756666>.
4
TMT Predictions 2018: Overview, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications. [online]. [2018-02-27]. Available at:
<www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/tmt-predictions.html>.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
In the treatise called “Mobile Augmented Reality Game Engine”, co-authors Jian Gu and Henry B. L.
Duh explain: “The recent fusion of Augmented Reality (AR) and mobile technologies has enabled the creation
of novel mobile AR applications. As the image processing algorithms and processing capabilities of mobile
hardware continue to improve, mobile AR will become more commonplace.”5
Another question to be addressed is the relative popularity of print compared with digital media channels.
Deloitte Global predicts that, “By the end of 2018, 50 percent of adults in developed countries will have at
least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, that average will have doubled to four.
The cost of these subscriptions – spanning principally TV, movies, music, news and magazines – will typically
be under $10 per month each in 2018.”6
The convergence of the mobile environment and AR is another threshold to be considered. Its importance
for the media world is apparent, although examples of its implementation are still somewhat exceptional.
However, its role could be signicant in the future, if it is properly understood, appreciated and managed.
3. Augmented reality – a new hope for newspapers?
At the end of 2017 the Harvard Business Review published a collection of articles titled “A Manager’s Guide
to Augmented Reality”. The leading article “Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy”,
co-authored by world-acclaimed Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, is a must-read for anyone
interested in augmented reality (AR) and its practical application in the business world.7 On March 15, 2018,
this was followed by a live video on the Facebook prole of Michael E. Porter in which he explained not only
how AR would change business and the way we work but also the term augmented reality itself.8
The article not only reveals new aspects and applications of AR but is also a piece of AR itself, as the
authors lead readers through the process of downloading the HBR AR mobile app from an app store and
then watching one of the 2D charts in the article ‘come to life’. This particular AR video-simulation is a real-
world example oering a helping hand to solve maintenance issues remotely while increasing productivity
and reducing costs. In the above-mentioned live video, Michael E. Porter explains the dynamic shift in
productivity that can come from applying AR and speaks about ‘smart connected products’.
PICTURE 1: Experience augmented reality
Source: Author’s own elaboration using the mobile app HRB AR and 2D graphics attached to the article “Why Every Organization Needs an
Augmented Reality Strategy”.
5 FURHT, B.: Handbook of Augmented Reality. New York : Springer, 2011, p. 99.
6
TMT Predictions 2018: Overview, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications. [online]. [2018-02-27]. Available at:
<www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/tmt-predictions.html>.
7
A Manager’s Guide to Augmented Reality. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2017/11/a-managers-
guide-to-augmented-reality#why-every-organization-needs-an-augmented-reality-strategy>.
8
PORTER, M. E.: How AR Will Change Business and the Ways You Work. Broadcast on 15th March 2018. [online]. [2018-
03-19]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/HBR/videos/10155898055607787/>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 9Studies
In its article, MIT Sloan Management Review further explained: “According to Porter, organizations seeking
to leverage AR must think through ve key points on the way to developing
a strategy, including:
What implementation areas they should prioritize;
How to use AR for product dierentiation;
Where AR may be most cost-eective;
Whether to build capabilities in-house or outsource;
What role AR can play as a future communications medium.”9
These ve areas are also of critical importance to the worlds of journalism and media. The gradual
permeation of AR into, and its eventual proliferation in, all sectors of the economy will have a dramatic
impact on readers’ and viewers’ expectations.
See Picture 2 documenting projected adoption of AR in the coming decades.
PICTURE 2: AR projected adoption in different industries
Source: Augmented reality. [online]. [2018-03-20]. Available at: <https://augreality.wikispaces.com/Projected+Adoption#Timeline>.
Despite the fact that AR examples have been known to the media world since 2010, in 2018, AR is
still an immature technology. However, the acceleration of the AR adoption process is inevitable. It goes
hand-in-hand with technological advancement. “Augmented reality is poised to enter the consumer market
with prevalence in many dierent industries such as education, social media, gaming, medical and home
entertainment.”10
In further chapters, the author will explore and critically evaluate AR as a tool for encouraging customers
to return to newspapers, since AR can be seen as a radical new means of engaging with these readers.
Simultaneously, AR stimulates the use of higher-order cognitive processes (visual memory, attention, problem-
solving, uid intelligence, etc.). So, a novel way of processing information is being born. Companies will
need to approach this new technology with a clear strategy. It is obvious that creativity will be much needed
in this process.
9
Why Business Leaders Need an Augmented Reality Strategy. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://sloanreview.
mit.edu/sponsors-content/why-business-leaders-need-an-augmented-reality-strategy/>.
10
Augmented reality. [online]. [2018-03-20]. Available at: <https://augreality.wikispaces.com/Projected+Adoption
#Timeline>.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
4. Methodology
Apart from undertaking a literature review, to help develop the necessary conceptual background, the
author carried out an empirical probe entitled “Do you read newspapers? A digital edition or print version?”
The online survey, prepared with the help of the SurveyMonkey online app and distributed through social
networks in March 2018, revealed some interesting ndings. Although the sample of respondents is far from
being representative, altogether 71 responses were collected and analysed (see Chapter 4). The results
are enlightening. As for demographic data, the age of the survey respondents ranged from 18 to 65+,
irrespective of gender. The respondents were recruited from two geographical areas: the Czech Republic
and the Slovak. Republic. The survey was promoted on Facebook with the total budget of 350, -- Czech
Crowns for the period of 11 days.
5. Survey results and interpretation
The above-described survey consisted of two multiple-choice questions only.
1. Choose one of the following options:
I prefer the print version of newspapers.
I prefer the online edition of newspapers, event, a mobile app.
I don’t read newspapers at all.
There were ve respondents’ comments. One of them, repeated several times, is:
“Digital editions need electricity. However, they are more up-to-date and you don’t need to take care of
paper waste. From print versions I read mostly only those free of charge.”
Other interesting comments:
“I prefer an audio version in combination with the print version.”
“There is not always time for reading a newspaper. However, digital editions are available always and
everywhere.”
Author’s comment:
Considering the reasons for such a high number of respondents preferring digital facsimiles may lead us to
a few conclusions: the price of newspapers is rather high; the respondents lack time to read on daily basis
and, perhaps, there is an abundance of information available everywhere. Furthermore, media fragmentation
makes it extremely dicult for any newspaper publisher to build a long-lasting relationship with a specic
audience. Traditional values associated with a newspaper may be an advantage in keeping an existing
audience – but not necessarily in attracting a new one. Further research may bring an answer to the question
of whether there is, or isn’t, a direct relationship between a specic digital edition and the print version of the
CHART 1: Do you read newspapers? A digital edition
or print version?
Source: own processing
I prefer the online
edition of newspaper,
event, a mobile app.
I don't read
newspapers at all
10%
68,57%
21,43%
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 11Studies
same title to which the family used to subscribe. There may be a psychological connection to the original
‘physical product’, e.g. based on the trustworthiness of a specic newspaper. Allocating time to reading a
newspaper (or to reading at all) was a habit passed on from one generation to another. Nowadays, it may
be slowly disappearing as more engaging activities, e.g. PC games, take the lead.
2. Can you imagine a newspaper with a picture/diagram that ‘comes to life’ thanks to augmented
reality and an app in your smartphone?
87% of the respondents answered this question positively.
Author’s comment:
The spread of interesting information on new media, virtual reality VR, AR, robotics, Industry 4.0, and the
like is unprecedented. This, together with relatively easy and cheap access to the Internet, inuences
people’s ‘knowledgeableness’ - since they tend not to miss information which is relevant to them, or that
is relevant to their future. Our survey identied a rather surprisingly high number of respondents (87%) who
can envisage AR features being a familiar part of newspapers. It is a promising signal that they are at least
partly ready to adopt AR without barriers or prejudices. However, further research is needed to investigate
if they are ready to pro-actively use a smart mobile app to ‘enliven’ the AR images. This information will
prove useful should a newspaper decide to adopt this strategy and technology.
6. Discussion
To evaluate AR and its potential to become a unique selling point for newspapers, a great deal of information
needs to be examined very carefully. Only then can a viable strategy be formulated with more precision.
As a minimum, there are four areas of future research to consider: (1) readiness of the readership to
adopt an entirely new type of media format and become pro-active in its use, (2) the resources (money, know-
how, and workforce) required, (3) in-house versus outsourced AR solutions, and (4) paid versus free access.
1. Readership readiness: An AR strategy could become a unique selling point and a competitive advantage
for newspaper publishers. However, the AR content should be carefully considered and in no way should
it be just another version of evening TV news. People will seek added value in these ‘live images’.
High levels of engagement, guidance, counselling, entertainment and education are just a few of the
criteria to consider. A systematic approach is needed, as customer relations can be built with the help
of this innovative tool at a totally new level.
2. Resources: Prior to allocating money to AR and adopting AR as a core strategy, it is advisable to work
with available business analytics. If we want a particular newspaper’s readership to stay loyal to reading
its print version and not to cancel their subscriptions, we need to enhance customer satisfaction as
much as possible. In the business world, companies such as Xerox and IKEA managed to increase
customer satisfaction after the introduction of AR into their business processes. E.g. Xerox has seen its
customer satisfaction rates rise to 95% now that the company is using AR to connect remote technical
experts directly with customers.11 Given AR’s various uses and its practical benets, the newspaper
publisher may reach the situation where customers’ emotional enchantment by, and loyalty to, a
brand prevails in their mutual relations. If AR is used in the print version of newspapers, the number
of subscribers may increase as a result of customers’ deep emotional attachment to their newspaper
brand. The AR experience is often very surprising, enchanting and engaging and there is a high
probability that readers, themselves, will gladly share their new experience on social media or elsewhere.
11
A Manager’s Guide to Augmented Reality. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2017/11/a-managers-
guide-to-augmented-reality#why-every-organization-needs-an-augmented-reality-strategy>.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
3. In-house versus outsourced AR solutions: Ideally, the decision to develop AR resources in-house or
‘buy-in’ these resources (that is, outsourcing them) should be based on a particular publisher’s business
results, risk prole and strategy. The publisher might start with an outsourced AR solution and monitor
its business results for a while. Depending on these results, massive investment into in-house AR
solutions could be justiable - and communication with stakeholders and potential investors made
easier.
4. Paid versus free access: Many attempts to nd the appropriate business model can be seen in the
activities of media publishers. Some of them try to increase revenue from advertising. Some of them
try to inuence their readers to search their hearts and consider donations/contributions to their news
supplier, e.g. The Guardian writes on their website: “Unlike many news organizations, we haven’t
put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. The Guardian’s independent,
investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But the revenue we get
from advertising is falling, so we increasingly need our readers to fund us.”12 Finding a new business
model - perhaps a business model based on new technologies - might be costly and time-consuming.
However, it is worth having a trial to see if a company can benet from it. If it succeeds, it’s worth its
weight in gold.
Kannan and Hongshuang in their research highlight: “As new digital devices and technologies evolve,
future research needs to focus on how rms can use these developments to create sustainable competitive
advantage, gain market share, and increase customer equity and brand equity.”13 This statement lies at the
core of future bold and timely managerial decisions.
7. Conclusion
The objective of this study has been to critically evaluate AR as a tool capable of encouraging customers
to return to reading newspapers, since AR can be seen as a radical new means of engaging with readers.
Despite the limitations of the survey carried out by the author, that survey’s results have provided some
evidence that newspaper readership is ready for AR while, at the same time, revealing people’s preference
for digital editions compared with print media.
In a similar way to what is going on in other industries, print media publishers should start considering
implementing an AR strategy, at least at the level of crystalizing their opinions on the possible use of AR in
terms of product dierentiation and cost-eectiveness. There are also the issues of whether any AR solutions
employed should be developed in-house or outsourced. Furthermore, on an over-arching strategic level,
media publishers need to consider the role of AR as a viable mass communication medium of the future.
Although, today, we still know so little about the features and capabilities of modern innovative
technologies, exploring the available technological solutions and indulging in creative thinking about their
implementation in specic industries and lines of business is well worth doing. If we don’t, we won’t know
what we have missed.
12
News, sport and opinion from the Guardian’s global edition, The Guardian. [online]. [2018-04-04]. Available at:
<https://www.theguardian.com/international>.
13 KANNAN, P.K.: Hongshuang “Alice” LI, 2017. Digital marketing: A framework, review and research agenda. In International
Journal of Research in Marketing, 2017, Vol. 34, No. 1., p. 22-45. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://linkinghub.
elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0167811616301550>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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Bibliography and sources
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Projected+Adoption#Timeline>.
A Manager’s Guide to Augmented Reality. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2017/11/a-
managers-guide-to-augmented-reality#why-every-organization-needs-an-augmented-reality-strategy>.
Augmented Reality & Computer Vision Solutions Blippar. [online]. [2018-04-04]. Available at: <https://
web.blippar.com/>.
FURHT, B.: Handbook of Augmented Reality. New York : Springer, 2011.
KANNAN, P.K.: Hongshuang “Alice” LI, 2017. Digital marketing: A framework, review and research agenda.
In International Journal of Research in Marketing. 2017, Vol. 34, No. 1., p. 22-45. ISSN 0167-8116. [online].
[2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0167811616301550>.
PORTER, M. E.: How AR Will Change Business and the Ways You Work. Broadcast on 15th March 2018.
[online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/HBR/videos/10155898055607787/>.
News, sport and opinion from the Guardian’s global edition. [online]. [2018-04-04]. Available at: <https://
www.theguardian.com/international>.
PAVLIK, J. V.: Innovation and the Future of Journalism. [online]. [2018-03-19] Available at: <http://www.
tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21670811.2012.756666>.
Why Business Leaders Need an Augmented Reality Strategy. [online]. [2018-03-19]. Available at: <https://
sloanreview.mit.edu/sponsors-content/why-business-leaders-need-an-augmented-reality-strategy/>.
The medium is the message, Dene The medium is the message at Dictionary.com. [online]. [2018-03-20].
Available at: <http://www.dictionary.com/browse/the-medium-is-the-message>.
TMT Predictions 2018: Overview | Technology, Media, and Telecommunications. [online]. [2018-02-27].
Available at: <https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/
articles/tmt-predictions.html>.
Author
Ladislava Knihová studied linguistics at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague, specializing in
English and Russian, earning a PhDr. degree in philology and teaching instruction. After graduating, she worked in
the diplomatic service and now works as an Assistant Professor at The University of Finance and Administration
in Prague. She also works as a corporate trainer. Her clients include Harley-Davidson, DHL and ING Bank. In
recent years, she has become renowned as an online learning specialist, having been named several times in
the annual list of the ‘Top Ten E-learning Movers and Shakers in Europe’. She has published numerous articles on
learning technologies and has taken part in e-learning and marketing conferences. Ladislava focuses on marketing
communications, digital marketing and social media marketing, as well as teaching English as a second language.
She specializes in teaching English for special purposes (e.g. marketing, nance, management, etc.). In 2017
Ladislava earned her MBA degree in Marketing & PR. Ladislava speaks Czech, English, Russian, and German,
along with some Arabic and Chinese.
Ladislava Knihová
Fakulta podnikohospodářská,
Vysoká škola ekonomická
Nám. W. Churchilla 4,
13067 Praha
Czech Republic
knil00@vse.cz
page 14 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
Exchange of Views Presented on
Facebook: Discussions and Their
Participants
photo: geralt
Pavel Pešek
ABSTRACT
Facebook discussion threads are often associated with a controversial exchange of views. This study
deals with these threads. In the theoretical part the author aims to look at Facebook as a separate internet
medium that requires active interaction from its users. He deals with Marshall McLuhan’s and Erving
Goman’s theories and aims to work with the evolution of the social network. In the practical part the author
focuses on Facebook discussion threads themselves and on their participants. To cope with his research
problem, he employs two qualitative methods, discourse analysis of Facebook’s discussion threads and
semi-structured interviews with debaters. He tries to distinguish whether there are any interaction patterns,
discourse terminology used by debaters within discussion threads and he also aims to describe Facebook
discussion threads from an overall perspective. In semi-structured interviews with Facebook debaters the
main goal is to reveal the motivation to present their opinion online and reection of the social platform itself.
KEY WORDS
Facebook. New media. Internet discussions. Debaters. Interaction. Social media. Communication.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 15Studies
1. Changing the way we communicate: Facebook
as an extension
In his Understanding Media published in 1964, Marshall McLuhan dened medium as a message. He works
with the idea that individuals have embraced their environment to work in their favor. Every medium consists
of information that gives a deeper meaning to the things around us. In McLuhan’s theory, the medium works
as an extension of the individual.1
In various concepts, the medium could be characterized as transferring information from one point
to another2 or simply as a communication tool.3 But it was Joshua Meyrowitz who noticed that electronic
media not only provides easier access to information but also creates entirely new situations and types of
human behaviour.
4
Meyrowitz works with the theory of Erving Goman which examines interactions between
individuals through their theatrical performances. Goman deals with a front region (that he describes as
a main stage), an audience, and a back region which is hidden to the audience.5 Meyrowitz points out that
the electronic media are wiping out these spaces and creating something he calls the “middle region”. In
the middle region the audience can watch the moves of the actor between the backstage and the stage.
The actor is aware of that situation and adapts his behaviour to it.
6
According to Meyrowitz, the perspective
in Goman’s theory is related to a physical location, but the nature of interactions is not dened by the
physical environment but by the information ow pattern instead.7
Since Facebook was rst launched in 2004,
8
connections between individuals have become more visible.
The possibility of ‘adding friends’ to someone’s prole led to competitiveness among some users.
9
We
could state that relationships between people gained a more materialistic value. Over the years Facebook
has implemented several features and functions (Groups, Pages, News Feed, Timeline, Reactions etc.) that
led to a transformation of the way we communicate online.
However, the biggest milestone was the invention of the News Feed in 2006.10 It was not just any
new feature; it was the whole algorithm that made Facebook unique for all its users. Facebook started to
prefer information that was relevant for specic users. As Kirkpatrick, the author of The Facebook Eect:
The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, points out, Facebook has shifted the way
information is exchanged.
Up until now, when you desired to get information about yourself to someone, you had to initiate a
process or “send” them something, as you do when you make a phone call, send a letter or an email, or
even conduct a dialogue by instant message. But News Feed reversed this process. Instead of sending
someone an alert about yourself, now you simply had to indicate something about yourself on Facebook
and Facebook would push the information out to your friends who, according to Facebook’s calculations
of what was likely to interest them, might be interested in the activity you were recording.”11
Not only has the creation of the News Feed produced a dierent way of sharing information, it has
also opened new possibilities for personalised advertising and has given users a space for an entirely new
kind of behaviour.
1 MCLUHAN, M.: Jak rozumět médiím: extenze člověka. Praha : Mladá fronta, 2011, p. 35.
2 JIRÁK, J., KÖPPLOVÁ, B.: Masová média. Praha : Portál, 2015, p. 23.
3 REIFOVÁ, I. et al.: Slovník mediální komunikace. Praha : Portál, 2004, p. 139.
4 MEYROWITZ, J.: Všude a nikde: vliv elektronických médií na sociální chování. Praha : Karolinum, 2006, p. 50.
5 GOFFMAN, E.: Všichni hrajeme divadlo: sebeprezentace v každodenním životě. Praha : Nakladatelství Studia Ypsilon,
1999, p. 108-132.
6 MEYROWITZ, J.: Všude a nikde: vliv elektronických médií na sociální chování. Praha : Karolinum, 2006, p. 50.
7 MEYROWITZ, J.: Všude a nikde: vliv elektronických médií na sociální chování. Praha : Karolinum, 2006, p. 42.
8 BRÜGGER, N.: A brief history of Facebook as a media text: The development of an empty structure. In First Monday,
2015, Vol. 20, No. 5. [online]. [2017-12-29]. Available at: <http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i5.5423>.
9
KIRKPATRICK, D.: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World. New York :
Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 92.
10
KIRKPATRICK, D.: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World. New York :
Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 180-181.
11
KIRKPATRICK, D.: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World. New York :
Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 193.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
Even though Meyrowitz’s theory focuses mainly on the television era, Marie Pospíšilová applies it to
Facebook. Pospíšilová points out that the interaction regions on Facebook are not always stable and change
according to individual users’ approach.12 According to her, the space on Facebook itself is dierentiated,
users that were participating in her research were communicating both in the front and the back regions
and more importantly they considered the main page of Facebook as the “middle region”.
13
However,
Pospíšilová points out that the behaviour of users within each region was not automatic but was created
through dierent phases of social networking. Strong links between individuals were created especially in
the back region (such as through integrated chat) where users communicated on a more personal level.14
Marie Pospíšilová also addressed the motivation of individuals to start using Facebook in the rst
place. According to her, the reasons were heterogenic, but it was especially the curiosity, the urge of their
friends or simply the features and benets that Facebook oered at the time.
15
The experimental phase
itself, according to Pospíšilová, was manifested by the fact that users were experimenting more with their
own identity. They also experimented with playing games or writing statuses (short updates about their
lives). Self-presentation was very crucial at this stage though its larger measure could lead either to user
categorisation or subsequent removal from a friend list.16
Facebook discussions are often associated with a controversial exchange of views. When commenting
on Facebook, users enter something that could be called “public space”, meaning the audience are not just
friends of these users but any person on Facebook that is interested in the same page, group or topic. It is
also important to mention that even the commentary section is sorted by Facebook’s algorithm. Jiří Homoláč
focused on internet discussions more closely. He did a discourse analysis of the comments published online
and distinguished several tendencies that were occurring in these comments. He noticed that discussions
are available on the internet for a longer period of time, that the debaters do not know who is online at the
time (whether the conversation is active or not), that the debaters use nicknames, that vulgarisms may
appear, that the discussion is managed by an administrator, and that trolls appear in discussions.17
On Facebook, users are forced to use their real names,18 but there are also people who pretend to be
someone else. Research conducted on the topic of fake identities in social media showed that users are
very likely to add a person they don’t know in real life to their friend list if the person is either a woman,
or has some friends in common (even though they do not have to know them in real life either).
19
Fake
proles could be used for several reasons. One of them is spreading fake news in the “public space” such
as the comments section. Fake news is described as articles that are deliberately false and aim to fool
their audience.20
Once a Facebook prole is created, users are tempted to interact with each other. Such pressure is
rst and foremost manifested by sending friend requests to “People you may know”. Facebook is not
only a communication tool but goes much further by absorbing multiple functions of the internet itself.
It is constantly developing and providing new ways of self-presentation (live, stories, AR, etc.). As Marie
Pospíšilová found out, the reason why many people want to use the network is primarily the self-presentation
mentioned above. This may lead to the assumption that the main priority is not the shared content but the
features that Facebook is providing.
12
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 58.
13
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 59.
14
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 61, 64.
15
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 81.
16
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 82-83.
17 Internetové diskuse o cikánech a Romech. Praha : Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Nakladatelství Karolinum,
2009, p. 46-52.
18 Terms of Service. [online]. [2018-02-23]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms/update>.
19 KROMBHOLZ, K. et al.: Fake Identities in Social Media: A Case Study on the Sustainability of the Facebook Business
Model. In Journal of Service Science Research, 2012, Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 185-199. [online]. [2018-03-16]. Available at:
<https://sba-research.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/krombholzetal2012.pdf>.
20
ALCOTT, H., GENTZKOW, M.: Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. In Journal of Economic Perspective, 2017,
Vol. 31, No. 2, p. 213. [online]. [2018-03-16]. Available at: <https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/fakenews.pdf >.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 17Studies
In our research we focused on public discussion threads on Facebook and the users who participated
in such discussions. We intended to look at their interactions and also aimed to explain the reasons why
they enter the imaginary public podium shared amongst a broad audience. I consider Facebook to be one
of the most popular social networks in the Czech Republic. Based on research conducted by CVVM in April
2018, 70% of respondents that were using internet had a prole on Facebook as well.21
2. Methodology
The research consists of two qualitative methods, the rst being the discourse analysis of discussion threads
shared on Facebook, and the second being semi-structured interviews with the debaters analyzed through
grounded theory. The main priority of the research was to nd out how users interact with each other on
Facebook and to reveal who these users are and why they publicly share their opinions online to discuss
topics with other Facebook users.
Research questions
To cope with the research problem, we examined two main research questions. They are linked to several
sub-questions that were either based on the main research questions or emerged during the research.
How do the interactions in discussion threads on Facebook look?
How do Facebook users interact in debates with each other? Are there any similarities between interactions
that create more general discourse patterns such as the use of terminology, shared assumptions, or ways
of responding to other users? Is there a possibility that interactions can be quantied to sort debaters into
groups based on their type of interaction? Is it possible that the discussion environment aects the quality
of the discussions themselves?
Who are the debaters commenting in discussions on Facebook?
How do Facebook users reect the Facebook environment? How do they reect other debaters? What is
the main motivation to express their opinion and what is the intention to respond to other users? What do
the debaters feel when other users have a dierent opinion? And how do they react?
Sample
In order to make sure the debaters would exchange opposite views on particular topics, it was necessary
to choose three dierent topics that were dividing society at the time. Based on the analysis of daily press
that was conducted by Šafr and Špaček, the readers of dierent titles were also dierent.22 We supposed
that online media readers, as well as online discussion participants, may also dier. To prevent the debate
being inuenced by the culture of expression of the chosen medium, we also decided to choose three
dierent media providers:
Names of Facebook pages in alphabetical order:
ČT24 – A part of Czech Television which is a public service broadcaster in the Czech Republic. The article,23
which is found on ČT24’s Facebook page, is summarizing the last presidential debate that aired on Czech
Television the day before the electoral vote. It was one of the rst articles to address the presidential debate.
In our opinion, the topic is an elevation of the political disunity of Czech society.
We joined the discussion on Facebook on January 26th, 2018. There were 83 Top Comments that
contained sub-comments. Shared post had 204 reactions.
21
Sociologický ústav (Akademie věd ČR). Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění. [online]. [2018-08-13]. Available at:
<https://www.soc.cas.cz/en>.
22
    
al. (ed.): Jaká je naše společnost? Otázky, které si často klademe
p. 94-96.
23
ČT24: Prezidentští kandidáti o Andreji Babišovi a kauze Čapí hnízdo. Facebook. [online]. [2018-01-26]. Available at:
<https://www.facebook.com/CT24.cz/posts/10156244535679009>.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
iDnes.cz - A news server that belongs to MAFRA, a. s., media group. It is the online version of the daily
newspaper Mladá Fronta DNES. Another shared article,
24
whose comments I chose to analyze was about a
YouTuber who published a video with a dead body found in the “Japanese suicide forest”. The selected topic
connects the social networks phenomenon while opening a discourse on the moral values of individuals,
as well as the concept of suicide and how social network viewers discuss it.
We joined the discussion on Facebook on January 19th, 2018. There were 190 Top Comments that
contained sub-comments. Shared post had 687 reactions.
Týdeník Respekt - The internet version of the weekly magazine that belongs to the publishing company
Economia. The article25 We chose deals with the #MeToo. A campaign that highlights sexual harassment
of women and which started with the aair of American lm producer Harvey Weinstein. The topic is
questioning gender inequality, which has become a general problem in recent years, and opens a general
discourse on what is considered to be rape.
We joined the discussion on Facebook on January 24th, 2018. There were 27 Top Comments that
contained sub-comments. Shared post had 228 reactions.
The Facebook algorithm rst displays the “Most relevant” comments but other options could be chosen
manually. These other options are “New” and “All comments”. Therefore, in each of the three cases, the
“All comments” option had to be chosen in order to get unltered content.
All comments are still accessible, meaning Facebook users can still comment, edit or delete them
completely. For easier coding performed in the program Atlas.ti, We’ve been forced to save Facebook posts
to PDF format. That is the reason why our analysis does not consider changes in content of the individual
discussions that took place after the date when the data corpus was used for the analysis. From the ethical
point of view, Facebook considers all comments to be public information. Moreover, the public information
can be even associated with someone outside the Facebook.26
The process of choosing a sample of respondents for semi-structured interviews was made more dicult
by outdated comments posted on Facebook. The original intention was to directly address users that took
part in the analyzed discussions. However, by the time the interviews were conducted, discussions were
not up to date anymore. Another complication was the social network itself. Facebook sorts messages
from “strangers” (i.e. from people who are not friends on Facebook) to a specic and less visible folder. we
were therefore forced to re-evaluate the situation and address respondents through connections on our
own Facebook prole, while the selection conditions remained the same. Most participants were chosen
using a snowball sampling technique. In the spirit of the snowball sampling technique our rst respondents
suggested other individuals to participate in interviews. Users had to be active in commenting and they
had to post comments in a certain way. In total we chose eight respondents. The chosen group consisted
of four women and four men aged 25-39 years old. Half of them had tertiary education and the other half
had secondary education. In one case, the participant had secondary education without a school-leaving
examination. All participants agreed to take part in our research and remained anonymous. We are aware
of the small sample, but every participant represented one group that emerged from the discourse analysis.
Exchanging views on Facebook turned out to be something I could call a phenomenon - a large proportion
of Facebook users are following the comments. Moreover, some of them use the commentary section to
help them form their own opinions.
24 iDNES.cz: Více než 45 tisíc lidí podepsalo petici za úplné smazání účtu youtubera Logan Paula z Youtube. Facebook.
[online]. [2018-01-19]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/iDNES.cz/posts/10155320869471314>.
25
Týdeník Respekt: Respekt: Někteří lidé se obávají, že po kampani #MeToo se muži budou bát dvořit ženám…. Facebook.
[online]. [2018-01-24]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/tydenikrespekt/posts/10155896640936103>.
26
What is public information?. [online]. [2018-02-23]. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/help/203805466323736>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 19Studies
3. Discourse analysis: Topics dividing society. Who are the
debaters and are there any communication patterns?
As a part of the analysis of debates, We have discovered many general discourses and views on each of
the topics that were dividing society at the time. However, within this study We only intend to take a deeper
look at the resemblance and patterns that have begun to emerge in the discussions. Even though the topics
might seem dierent, the debaters act in a similar way in many cases.
Desire for interaction
All users that participated in the discussions on Facebook showed the same intention to express their opinion
or attitude to the presented topic in some way. However, in many cases one common feature emerged. In
addition to expressing their opinion, users often targeted their posts to get feedback from other users. In
other words, comments that were controversial in some way or contained a question trying to make others
interested in expressing themselves occurred more frequently. Such “desire for interaction” raises the
question whether users are either looking for interaction with other debaters, or whether they are in need
of some support to help strengthen their opinion in order to conrm that they are right, or if the main goal
is a desire to publicly be involved in an argument with someone they can possibly intimidate.
Controversies and questions in the main comments produced the most frequently commented-on
threads. In general, the more controversial the post was, the more likely other users responded. But
Facebook’s algorithm helped it as well. As mentioned above, Facebook selects the most relevant and
interesting comments for its users. The comments showed at the top are the comments that received the
greatest appreciation from others, whether passively or actively being discussed. Whether it is a reaction
with a built-in feature (i.e. Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry) or a number of answers to the main comment.
This can result in a false impression that comments on social networking are always “oensive”. But this
is not entirely the case. Facebook shows the “most interesting” comments rst and the rest stay hidden in
the background. Another factor that played a crucial role in the “desire for interaction” was the option to
tag someone. Debaters could tag either their friends to share an article or to engage with a specic person
within the discussion (they didn’t have to be friends with that person). The users who were most commonly
referred to were those who needed reactions to their comment from others. There was an intention to send
them a warning and to let them know that another user is interested in their opinion. It especially appeared
in the controversial comments mentioned above or in disagreements when there was an oensive encounter
with someone else. It should be noted that when users joined the discussion, Facebook sent them an alert
right away. This meant there was no need to tag a person to get them notied. “Desire for interaction”
appeared within all discussions we analysed. The tagging itself was the most common manifestation of
any interactions between users on Facebook.
Comments should be humorous
“Desire for interaction” is only one of the many tendencies that occurred in analysed threads. Then there
were humorous comments. Users often aimed to write funny and witty comments in order to entertain other
users and gain their positive feedback. In this case, their desire for recognition and appreciation exceeded
their desire for interaction, which would have otherwise been indicated using the “tagging” feature. In
some cases, the specic humour of the comments could serve as a tool to ridicule other users or to use
as a weapon in more heated exchanges. In other cases, users shared humorous videos, memes, stickers
(integrated images on Facebook, mostly referring to pop culture or random characters), or gifs. Even a
reaction in such a way could cause the desire for interaction among other users.
The opinion creation and its presentation
Not every comment primarily served as entertainment. Some users were more likely to comment on a
subject that corresponded with their own point of view and they were greatly concerned about how their
comment would appear. In most cases, users expressed their own attitude to the topic or promoted and
explained their point of views. Such comments were, in most cases, more extensive than others and they
attempted to present the most important arguments or counterarguments that arose on the subject. Despite
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
its length, the overall impression suggested some kind of “request for empathy”. Users who wrote more
detailed comments and cared about the seriousness of their opinions tended to care about validation from
other users and their empathy or understanding.
Distrust of the media
Another common aspect that occurred was that the users across the analysed comments showed a certain
degree of distrust of the media. Some have questioned the objectivity of the media. Others have shown a
general distrust of the media, but have also shown doubt about individual articles, television broadcasters
or misleading titles. Distrust and exaggerated media criticism may be related to the fact that some users
are unable to accept a dierent opinion, do not want to believe in shared information or fail to correctly
disclose fake news and are sceptical of some media providers.
Conict with a person that has a dierent point of view
In the case of interaction between users, they either endorsed each other with similar opinions or disagreed
with each other. Such activity can be divided into passive (liking posts, adding integrated responses,
images, gifs, etc.) and active categories (when users reacted directly with their comments). We will focus
on the active interaction. Disagreeing user behaviour can be interpreted as oensive or defensive. In a case
of verbal attack, users were likely to argue with their opinions, use vulgarisms, insult other users or even
exaggerate certain opinions. Disagreements also appeared in a defensive form when users attempted to
defend their opinions. In many cases, defensive comments occurred in response to an attack when users
were looking for arguments to defend their views.
Users trying to act superior
Interactions between users did not take place without manifestations of superiority. Mostly it was a part
of oensive disagreements, but in many cases manifestations of superiority also appeared as defensive
disagreements. This could have been caused by the fact that users were more likely to respond this way in
case of arguing. The manifestations of superiority, unlike previous ways of communication, were split into
several ways of interaction. One of the most common manifestations of superiority was the devaluation of
another user’s opinion. In essence, users completely discarded any view dierent from theirs. Some users
even consciously attacked hobbies of other users which they either found on their proles or sourced from
the discussion thread. Grammar became another expression of supremacy. In some cases, users corrected
the grammatical mistakes of other users. They used proper grammar to manifest their superiority. Discussions
also included an aspect of moral condemnation of other commentators. The topic dealt with the idea of
“normality”, which worked as a sign of superiority over someone else. As a result, users judged others on
the basis of their published opinions.
Who are the debaters
Based on the discourse analysis, We were able to sort users according to the way they interacted publicly
on Facebook. Noticing similarities in their comments and reappearing trends, We managed to sort users
into 8 categories. Even though these categories appear independently, they should be understood as mere
roles individuals play and change according to the current course of an ongoing discussion.
Taggers
The term Tagger refers to the user who intentionally tags friends or users outside of their friendship
circle, in order to show them the post or to get feedback. Users that tag other people in their comments
are more likely to desire interaction than users in other groups. Such desire can also be related to
their self-presentation because if they tag someone from their Facebook friends list, this event will
also be shown to other Facebook friends.
Comics
Users who act as Comics try to write funny or witty comments. In most cases they presented their
opinion in a way that allowed them to reach and engage with as many people as possible. Such posts
will receive more passive feedback from other users. People who belong in this group of Comics
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include users who contribute funny pictures to the discussion, or share memes, gifs, or funny videos.
Their main goal is to entertain themselves and others.
Trolls
Comics sometimes manifest as Trolls. They tend to write sarcastically, ridicule a topic of discussion, or
even mock individual users. Trolls can also post their posts as satire or attack other users. However,
they primarily enjoy themselves at the expense of others.
Critics
Critics appeared in every discussion we analysed. Their main goal was to negate the topic or the
debate itself. Based on the published content, the criticism lacked a humorous sense. It could
be stated that the comments posted by Critics were rather serious. Criticism worked as a way of
presenting a dissenting opinion. Critics may not only criticize the topic, but they can also assess the
objectivity of the media.
Moralists
Moralists tend to judge the topic, or even other users based on the concept of normality, and most of
all, their perception of normality. Unlike Critics, Moralists do not want to negate the topic or opinions
of others, but rather morally condemn them. Moralists mostly share their personal experiences and
present alternative approaches to the behaviour of the individuals or to the presentation of a subject.
Experts
Experts not only overestimate their knowledge of the commented-on issue, they also genuinely believe
they know more than the participants of the discussion. They tend to show their alleged intellectual
skills and are more likely than other groups to refuse dierent points of view.
Attackers
Attackers verbally challenge other debaters in the discussion threads. They are more likely to attack
other users when they have no arguments left or when a strong disagreement with the other person
occurs. Attackers can even deride the hobbies of other users. For example, they use information
obtained from the prole accounts of the other debaters to make their attacks more personal.
Fans
Fans are primarily involved in the debate because the topic reects their personal beliefs. They usually
agree with the article and published opinions which they tend to defend and further discuss in the
discussion threads. Fans can therefore act as “defenders” of the topic in case the topic is attacked
by an attacker.
4. Grounded Theory: Reflection on the content shared on Facebook.
Exchange of views presented on Facebook
Our rst intention was to select participants for semi-structured interviews according to the groups that
emerged from our analyses. This intention proved wrong since every participant was talking about situations
where they held more than just one group characteristic. Groups, therefore, should be perceived as roles that
debaters play in a particular moment. Just as in Goman’s concept, it was a form of self-presentation where
the roles of individuals shaped their own personality. As a result, it depended on the type of discussion and
the mood of users themselves. The debaters could play more than one role, even within the same discussion.
Reection on the roles that appeared in the discussion threads
Based on semi-structured interviews, Tagging was mainly perceived as a means of attracting the attention
of others, especially friends of participants. The function itself was mainly considered an eective way of
transferring information on the social network. Users were aware that tagging was a form of involving others
in the discussion, but it also served as a way to avoid interaction with other users. By tagging a user, it is
easier to share the information with your friend or opponent without the risk of involving others. The tagged
user is suddenly a part of the discussion (mostly unwillingly). Moreover, the post where the users are tagged
is then displayed to all their friends. Taggers can also use the feature to support and express their own
views or beliefs. However, it is primarily used to attract the attention of other users.
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Humorous comments on Facebook can be easily misunderstood and spark another exchange of views,
which may then have an impact outside the internet. This is mainly because the internet lacks the context
of face-to-face communication. The Trolls ridicule others for their own amusement. But they have a lot to
do with Comics as well because they share comments containing a humorous tone that are mainly aimed
to reach a wider audience. “Trolling” can be a form of attack, criticism, ridicule or degradation of a dierent
opinion. It can also be a form of defence of any personal attitude.
Critics and Moralists also have much in common. Critics tend to belittle dierent views and opinions of
others and they often display their distrust of media. Their views are limited by their own narrow perspective.
Moralists defend the notion of normality and tend to morally condemn others. The criticism of other users’
comments may be based on impulsiveness or the lack of constructiveness. Some users can condemn other
debaters based on the way they present their points or simply because of specic communication ethics.
The moral condemnation of users is closely related to the concept of normality, in other words what other
users perceive as normal. If the perception diers, it is very easy to condemn others.
When users act as Experts, they respond in a distinctive way whereby they present themselves as
superior in knowledge about the topic they are debating. They either pretend to know the topic very well
or truly understand the issue. They usually comment on current topics and try to form an opinion that they
continue to present afterwards. The main characteristic is the desire to comment and spread their views. It is
usually the dissemination of information from a source that coincides with the opinion of the individual user.
The Attacker is a role that no one wanted to be identied with because of its negative perception.
However, most of the respondents had experience with acting oensively within the discussion threads.
In most cases, these attacks were somehow provoked by other Facebook users. Attacks were mainly
manifested because of strong emotions within the thread. Conict with a dierent view, and possible
provocation from the other side, also led to aggressive attacks. John Suler has dealt with the phenomenon
of online disinhibition. Individuals behave more openly on the Internet and tend to present themselves in a
dierent way than they would do outside of the internet. Online attacks may not correspond to their real-
life behaviour.27 Based on our interviews with otherwise non-conict users, We believe that the same thing
could be assumed about Facebook attacks.
The Fans are mainly interested in the topic because it is close to their own beliefs. Once the topic
was questioned, they tended to act as its “defenders”. Users who presented themselves as Fans followed
the topics they were interested in and that were close to them. As soon as someone presented a dierent
view on the topic, they were more likely to participate in commenting. The line between The Fans and The
Attackers was thus very thin and The Fans could easily resort to attacking other views and opinions.
Perception of Facebook’s environment
All interviewed users have been actively using Facebook since 2009. Their main motivation for joining the
network was either the initiative from users that were already using Facebook, or the number of benets
Facebook provided at the time. Users often talked about the declining trend in their Facebook activity.
While the rst years of use were rather active (i.e. posting statuses several times a day, using most of the
features), they now reected on their activity in rather passive engagement. Mark Zuckerberg also noticed
the declining trend in users’ activity and promised to change the platform in his open letter shared in
January 2018.28 However, the declining trend in activity does not correlate to declining communication with
friends and acquaintances on the integrated chat or Messenger app. Users mainly understood Facebook
as a communication tool. Communication and social networking were considered the main reason why
they spend most of their time online. Some users stated that they use Facebook constantly. Interaction
and easier transfer of information is one of the reasons people are constantly returning to Facebook and
why the social network is still a relevant and popular tool despite the decline in user activity. Some users
27
SULER, J.: The Online Disinhibition Effect. In CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2004, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 321-326. [online].
[2018-03-20]. Available at: <https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c70a/ae3be9d370ca1520db5edb2b326e3c2f91b0.pdf>.
28
ZUCKERBERG, M.: One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making. Facebook. [online]. [2018-01-12]. Available at:
<https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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have agreed that they spend most of their day on Facebook, despite knowing that it is time-consuming.
Facebook was considered a part of their lives rather than an entertainment platform. Moreover, they did
not talk about Facebook as a mere social network but as something that aects their lives. In McLuhan’s
terminology, they talked about Facebook as an extension of themselves. Users also reected on the fact
that Facebook not only serves as a tool of communication but also as a marketing tool to generate specic
content or even prot. Despite knowing some of Facebook’s deciencies, such as time consumption, privacy,
or the spread of false information, everyone evaluated Facebook rather positively. In one case there was a
negative social assessment of the social network. However, that could have been caused by data leakage
since the interview was realized shortly after the 2018 data leakage aair.29
The content on Facebook consists of posts that users share. Moreover, the content is always unique
and personalised for all users thanks to the News Feed algorithm. Users usually see posts that are relevant
to them. It turned out that the content users said they saw on Facebook’s main page also corresponded
with their personal interests. Even though users were interested in dierent topics, some of them had
one in common. It was politics. Interestingly, not all users were actively interested in politics, yet political
posts on Facebook have come to them. As Facebook users gradually switched to passivity, a similar trend
occurred in discussion threads. The active form of commenting was the formation and publishing of the
comment itself. The passive form was mainly reected in the evaluation of the comments based on the
built-in reactions on Facebook. Some users were commenting in their groups of interest because the groups
had a limited audience (though in some cases, they were open groups to which every Facebook user was
able join). Users have reached a certain paradox. Publishing opinion “publicly” in discussion threads was
followed by greater fear than posting opinions in a group. But the group could also be public. We therefore
think that users in a certain group feel that they are surrounded by people with similar opinions and nd it
easier to seek support. Users often reected on Facebook discussions as a great opportunity to sort out
information, nd individuals who have similar opinions, and in some cases the discussions had a great
impact in forming their own opinion.
Exchange of the views presented on Facebook
Discussions on Facebook caused dierent feelings in every user. Some reected on them as a tool to form
their opinions, whilst others saw them as a chance to present their attitude or as an instrument to persuade
other users. There were also those who tried to avoid discussion threads because they did not understand
the meaning, or because they reected on them as a cause of negative emotions. However, it turned out
that even these users, despite their reluctance to join the discussions, had been involved in some cases.
Weight of individual opinions
Everyone agreed that each user has the same right to express their opinion, whether they agree with it or
not. However, they did not value every opinion fairly. Users tended to show conrmation bias. Opinions
that somehow correlated with their own attitude were more important to them than opinions that were
diametrically dierent.
30
On several occasions, users even talked about situations where a dierent opinion
had no value to them. However, more general characteristics of individuals such as education or success
inuenced the weight of published comments as well.
Active and passive engagement in discussion threads
Users agreed that the main impulse to engage in the discussion, whether in active or passive form, were
emotions that the discussion or topic raised. As soon as the discussion elevated attention, they started
to seek comments that corresponded to their own beliefs and were more prone to “like” them. The “like”
function therefore represented a consenting way of showing their attitude towards the subject. If they
disagreed, they were likely to use other Facebook responses or actively participate in the commentary
29
INGRAM, D., HENDERSON, P.: Trump consultants harvested data from 50 million Facebook users: reports. Released
on 17th March 2018. [online]. [2018-03-20]. Available at: <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-cambridge-
analytica/trump-consultants-harvested-data-from-50-million-facebook-users-reports-idUSKCN1GT02Y>.
30
LORD, Ch. et al.: Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered
evidence. In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1979, Vol. 37, No. 11, p. 2098-2109. [online]. [2018-03-24].
Available at: <https://www.unc.edu/%7Efbaum/teaching/articles/jpsp-1979-Lord-Ross-Lepper.pdf>.
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section. When users were forced to think about the Facebook reactions (i.e. Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad,
Angry), they reected their dual meaning. Some users used the “Love” and the “Haha” reaction in both
positive and negative ways. The negative impact could then represent an attack or ridicule of another user.
Active engagement in discussion had various motives and reasons. Users wanted either to stand up,
convince other debaters to change their opinions, share their own experience, criticize or to ridicule. In
most cases it was impulsiveness that played a big part in publishing comments online.
Reection on conict with a person that has a dierent view
When users were exposed to a diametrically dierent opinion, they usually experienced negative emotions.
Negative emotions were the main cause of engagement in the debate. Once users actively debated with a
person that had a dierent view, they were primarily inclined to refute their opinion in some way. Participants
stated that they were likely to argue with an opposing opinion once they were active in the discussion. In
some cases, despite negative emotions, they tried to ignore the comments because they were aware that
the exchange of views does not lead anywhere.
What the participants thought about the discussions and their actors?
When Facebook users were reecting on what characterises a good and bad discussion, they agreed that
good discussion should contain strong arguments, be factual, and be relevant. It should not be based
entirely on emotions and impulsiveness. However, not only did users themselves admit that emotions are
noticeable in most of the discussion threads, they also stated that emotions are the key factor for joining the
discussion. The cause of such emotions could be explained by the fact that when individuals enter public
debates, they are more likely to see diametrically dierent opinions than what they are used to on their own
personalised main page. Bad discussions were reected on as debates where individuals let themselves be
carried away by emotions, attack each other, and do not use strong arguments. Participants were also asked
to reect on other debaters. They perceived them as more extrovert types with an inclination to impulsivity.
Some respondents also felt that other debaters are not afraid to express their opinions and they assumed
that they are more likely to have spare time and tend to have a weak social capital.
5. Conclusion
Users who participated in discussion threads on Facebook showed a “desire for interaction”. In most cases,
the desire was caused by sharing controversial posts, questions, or by tagging other users. Their comments
were either humorous or on the contrary, they tried to act seriously. In some cases, users showed distrust of
the media. Interactions between users could be divided into active or passive behaviour. Active interactions
were either armative when users were mutually supportive or dissenting, either oensive or defensive. In
many cases, users acted superior or ridiculed other users’ interests. However, passive interactions between
users may also be armative or dissenting but were mainly reected in the form of liking posts, sharing
memes or gifs. The behaviour of debaters within discussion threads showed similarities that led to the
division of users into eight groups: Taggers, Comics, Trolls, Critics, Moralists, Experts, Attackers, and Fans.
Based on semi-structured interviews, groups should be understood as roles that debaters play because
participants were mentioning situations where they acted in dierent roles. They could play more than one
role in each debate. They reected on Facebook as a tool for communication, marketing, and easier access
to information. Interviewed debaters reected on the declining trend in Facebook activity. Similar ndings
emerged from research conducted by Marie Pospíšilová. She found out that shortly after the creation of a
Facebook prole the user activity was most frequent. It was a phase of experiments with features and self-
presentation.31 Facebook users that participated in discussion threads were either active (commenting) or
passive (using built-in Facebook reactions). The weight of other users’ opinions varied according to how it
corresponded with their own personal beliefs. The main motivation to join the discussion was caused by
emotions. While dierent opinions elevated negative emotions and eorts to participate in discussions with
31
POSPÍŠILOVÁ, M.: Facebooková (ne)závislost: identita, interakce a uživatelská kariéra na Facebooku. Praha : Univerzita
Karlova, nakladatelství Karolinum, 2016, p. 82-83.
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the hope of changing the debater’s point of view, emotion-based discussions were characterised negatively.
On the other hand, users reected that good discussions should be based primarily on good arguments,
not just on emotions and impulsiveness. Despite some objections, Facebook and its discussions were
mostly reected on positively.
At the beginning of this study we opened the question whether Facebook is changing the way people
communicate online. Surprisingly most of the interviewed users understood Facebook as an extension of
themselves instead of mere communication tool. The features that Facebook is providing not only happened
to be part of their everyday communication, but part of their lives outside the social network as well. Based
on both analyses we conducted, we can state that Facebook is helping to transform communication to a
higher emotional level. Emotions are not just the main motivation to present opinions online but also the
driver for posting any content.
Acknowledgment: This study is based on author’s master thesis which was successfully defended on
15th of June 2018 at the Department of Historical Sociology at Charles University.
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Author
Pavel Pešek received his master’s degree in Historical sociology at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in
2018. He focuses on both qualitative and quantitative types of research and currently works for the research company
Ipsos in Prague. Until February 2017, he was a member of AIESEC Czech Republic (International Association of
Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences). Apart from sociology, he is interested in philosophy, history,
and other social sciences.
Pavel Pešek
Department of Historical Sociology,
Faculty of Humanities, Charles University
U Kříže 8,
158 00 Praha 5 - Jinonice
Czech Republic
ppsk92@gmail.com
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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ABSTRACT
The theoretical study deals with fake news, disinformation and hoaxes. These phenomena are a major
problem for contemporary society. We call it post-factual society. This expression is explained as falling
condence in objective facts and, on the contrary, increasing condence in information with an emotional
connotation, based on personal belief and conviction. The author in the study discusses the concepts of
fake news, misinformation, hoaxes, their types, properties, and analyses several known fake news that
appear primarily on the Internet. The author further analyses the current situation and interprets the results
of the Media Literacy Index 2018, which deals with the resistance of the countries to the aforementioned
negative phenomena. Last, but not least, the author focuses on the possibilities of prevention, education
in this eld and increasing media literacy. The study presents a theoretical view of the problem that has
resonated in recent years in society and requires preventive measures and activities in the eld of education
and media literacy of the population of countries (not only) of the European Union.
KEY WORDS
Postfactual. Post-truth. Fake news. Hoax. Media literacy. Critical thinking. Media Literacy Index 2018.
Fake News and Disinformation:
Phenomenons of Post-Factual Society
photo: geralt
Monika Hossová
page 28 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
1. Fake news, misinformation, hoaxes and post-factual times
According to The Collins English Dictionary the phrase of the year 2017 was fake news. It is information of
a sensational nature that can provoke outrage, fear, hatred, or mobilize the audience to a certain activity.
However, this information is untrue, ctitious or distorted. The most important issue is that it spreads at great
speed and is often perceived as accurate information. False messages and disinformation often generate
hoaxes that are fraudulent reports, alarm messages, ctional information, lies, unveriable information,
rumours or chain reports.
1
Although we can clearly dene these concepts, it turns out that society often
has a signicant problem in tackling these negative phenomena.
This problem is mainly related to the state of current post-factual society (post-factual post-truth). The
term post-factual refers to a period characterized by the fact that objective facts have less inuence on
the formation of public opinion than information based on personal conviction, belief, and emotions. The
creators and distributors of misinformation, hoax and fake news consciously use emotional pressure on
the recipient. In the news, we are talking about required criteria so that it can be included in the news and
presented to the public. A. Kačincová Predmerská summarizes the theoretical approaches and denes
the following news criteria: novelty (up-to-date information), proximity, continuity (event persistence and
development), personalization (identication of the recipient with the particular person shown in the report),
surprise (shocking information ), entertainment (presentation of curiosities, scandalous information, celebrity,
sex), relationship to elite nations (information on events in strong, elite countries - USA, Russia, China,
Germany, etc.) important people such as the president, often celebrities).
2
The more of these criteria are
met, the greater the chance it will be presented to the audience through the media. Even in the case of
fake news, misinformation and hoaxes, we can talk about some features or functions that make (mass)
spreading and capturing this information in society. The most common pursuit of the originator is the
induction of regret, compassion, anger, fear, or even hatred. The endeavour of a person who spreads such
information is to cause the recipient to respond, to be dismayed or mobilized to spread it further in their
vicinity, penetrating a larger number of recipients. As with hoax, misinformation and fake news, there are
several forms of these messages depending on their function. Typical examples are: Chain messages asking
for help and sharing requests; alerting global organizations about dangers (e.g. FBI, Microsoft, WHO, etc.);
messages spreading leaked secret information or invented petitions.3 In addition, frauds and fake reports
are increasingly appearing (fake contests and counterfeit products).
Currently the most common fake news are those that try to get money from the user. Companies
or individuals who are behind such reports are often referred to as trusted businesses (business chains,
state-owned companies, travel agencies, banks, etc.), most often organizing exclusive prize competitions
or oering various discount coupons. In the case of bank entities, it is phishing - password hunting by
e-mail or sms. The problem arises when the winner-user wants to claim his prize in the competition and
this step is conditional, for example, sms notication, paying an administrative fee and sharing. In the last
year, fake news has appeared in connection with well-known companies in Slovakia - Slovak Post, Lidl,
Tesco, Tatralandia, Audi or BMW (Picture 1). The danger lies primarily in the fact that the user recognizes
and trusts the companies. The maker of such a fraudulent report or competition violates the law, exploits
the logos and corporate colours of companies, and unreasonably enriches himself.
1 Koncepcia mediálnej výchovy vSlovenskej republike vkontexte celoživotného vzdelávania. Bratislava : Ministerstvo
kultúry SR, 2009, p. 17.
2 Žurnalistické žánre: Spravodajstvo vperiodickej tlači. Trnava : UCM, 2017, p. 44.
3 Co je to hoax. [online]. [2018-10-23]. Available at: <http://hoax.cz/hoax/co-je-to-hoax>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 29Studies
PICTURE 1: Examples of fraudulent misrepresentation of trusted companies
Source: own proccesing, By: Hoax.sk. [online]. [2018-10-24]. Available at: <https://hoax.sk/>.
The main purpose of the above examples of fake news is the enrichment of the creator. Although it
is an unfair process and a scam, this type of fake news is not “the worst”. There are also those who oer
nutritional supplements or medication. For the credibility of invented products, fraudsters abuse the position
and credibility of the medical profession, using photos of physicians from internet-based photos. Again,
it is an unjust enrichment of the creator and an unlawful action. This group of fake news can also include
conspiracy theories and “recommendations” appearing mainly in alternative media that promote alternative
approaches to health care (e.g. spreading fuss about vaccination and autism, the treatment of cancer with
disinfectants, etc.) (Picture 2). Web sites that provide this information often oer guides for the production
of such household drugs and directly encourage recipients to life-threatening behaviour.4
PICTURE 2: An example of a fake report encouraging the use and production of “alternative drugs” - People gamble.
They want to cure cancer with disinfectant.
Source: Ľudia hazardujú. Rakovinu si chcú liečiť dezinfekčným prostriedkom. [online]. [2018-10-24]. Available at: <https://www.aktuality.sk/
clanok/270385/ludia-hazarduju-rakovinu-si-chcu-liecit-dezinfekcnym-prostriedkom/>.
As we mentioned above, fake news tries to provoke anger, hatred and fear. False reports, which could
be party true, but are usually distorted and out of the context, appear frequently. On the other hand, there
are also completely fabricated reports in this category. An example of absolute deception is the report that
4 A list of conspiracy websites and sites with dubious and untrustworthy content is available at www.konspiratori.sk.
People hazard. They want
to treat cancer using disin-
fectant
Some cancer patients believe that
chlorine dioxide which is also
used to purify water in pools is
more effective than chemothera-
py. Both oncologists and medics
are outraged.
page 30 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
the Romani community in Slovakia is exempt from paying for medicines and receives them free of charge.
This false message or hoax has been repeatedly spread through the Slovak Internet for several years. It
is massively shared and raises a great deal of outrage for recipients who trust it. Sharing such messages
is then associated with hateful user behaviour. Misinformation and false reports on migrants, on the other
hand, cause fear. From the beginning, the migrant crisis has brought a lot of misinformation and fake news
about attacks and disruptions of migrants, their nancial advantages in Slovakia and abroad. This type of
misinformation spreads extremely quickly and raises anger. In the case of false information about attacks,
rapes or riots, they even spread fear. Creators of these fake news often use photographs as evidence.
However, there are photos of dierent events, cities, countries or even continents. (Picture 3)
PICTURE 3: An example of a fake report of fear and hatred - A hoax of arriving migrants in Prague by train. People did
not notice they shared a video from England
Source: ŠNÍDL, V.: Šíril sa hoax, ako migranti vlakom dorazili do Prahy. Ľudia si nevšimli, že zdieľajú video zAnglicka. [online]. [2018-10-24].
Available at: <https://dennikn.sk/1168189/siril-sa-hoax-ako-migranti-vlakom-dorazili-do-prahy-ludia-si-nevsimli-ze-zdielaju-video-z-
anglicka/>.
Based on the examples and general characteristics of the terms, we can say that current society is ghting
fundamental issues such as fake news, misinformation and hoaxes (but also online political propaganda).
These, undoubtedly negative, phenomena are often responsible for polarizing society, mistrusting public
institutions, spreading hatred and criminality. It is therefore necessary to monitor the state of this issue in
individual countries and to implement preventive and corrective measures to improve it.
2. The resistance of countries to fake news and misinformation
If we say that we live in the postfactual era, it means that individuals prefer such information (and trust more)
that have an emotional connotation, are mediated by a close person, or are able to identify with their opinions
and beliefs. But what is responsible for this state of society? We can talk about the informational overload
of today’s society as well as about the vast amount of information and data available to an individual, who
is often not able to pick relevant information for his own needs and benets. A great role is also played by
the trust of individuals towards society and the media that surround them and thus constitute their primary
sources of information. Other key factors may be the level of education in the country in which the individual
lives, but also the level of media literacy of the individual, his / her education in the media area or the ability
to critically perceive information and the media themselves.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 31Studies
The topic of European countries’ resistance to fake news is addressed by the Media Literacy Index
2018, which is the result of the work of the European Policies Initiative (EuPI) of the Open Society Institute
in Soa, Bulgaria. The research report evaluates 35 European countries in terms of their ability to defend
against postfacts and their negative impact. The report mainly deals with media literacy factors, which it
considers to be key in measuring countries’ resistance to post-factual phenomena. Among these weight-
bearing factors are the freedom of the press, the results of PISA testing, the share of the population with
tertiary education in the country, the condence of society and the level of use of civic participation tools.
The following European countries were included in the research: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece,
Holland, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Malta, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, United Kingdom, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Turkey. Based on country-specic media literacy
scores (Figure 4) and country-specic indicators of the country’s resistance to fake news and post-events,
the Nordic countries - Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Estonia - are the most resistant
to this phenomenon. These countries are characterized by a higher ability to prevent false tracking in
society and a higher level of education. On the contrary, the worst are the South-East European countries,
Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, but also Turkey. The reason
for the poor results of these countries is insucient level of education, controlled or non-free media. As a
result, these countries are more vulnerable to false reports.5 Slovakia ranks in the second half, among the
countries with lower resilience, along with Italy, Malta, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Greece and Romania.
6
Only
the aforementioned Southeast European countries are behind this group in the ranking of the resistance
of European countries.
5 LESENKI, M.: Common Sense Wanted: Resilience to ‘Post-Truth’ and its Predictors in the New Media Literacy Index
2018.
File/2018/MediaLiteracyIndex2018_publishENG.pdf>.
6 LESENKI, M.: Common Sense Wanted: Resilience to ‘Post-Truth’ and its Predictors in the New Media Literacy Index
2018.
File/2018/MediaLiteracyIndex2018_publishENG.pdf>.
CHART 1: Ranked Countries by Media Literacy Index
2018
Source: LESENKI, M.: Common Sense Wanted: Resilience to
‘Post-Truth’ and its Predictors in the New Media Literacy Index
2018. Soa : Open Society Institute Soa, 2018. [online]. [2018-
10-24]. Available at: <http://osi.bg/downloads/File/2018/
MediaLiteracyIndex2018_publishENG.pdf>.
Finland
Denmark
Netherland
Sweden
Estonia
Ireland
Belgium
Germany
Iceland
United Kingdom
Slovenia
Austria
Spain
Luxembourg
Portugal
France
Latvia
Poland
Czech Republic
Lithuania
Italy
Slovakia
Malta
Croatia
Cyprus
Hungary
Greece
Romania
Serbia
Bulgaria
Montenegro
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Albania
Turkey
Macedonia
10
16
22
25
28
30
31
38
39
40
43
44
47
48
50
55
55
55
56
56
59
59
60
60
60
60
62
62
64
68
69
69
70
71
76
page 32 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
This research shows that countries with higher levels of education are more resistant to fake news
penetration into their society. This is also conrmed by the Study on Assessment Criteria for Media Literacy
Levels, which was attended by ve major European educational institutions in 2009. The study denes
the criteria by which we can measure and assess the level of media literacy in Europe. One of the criteria
being evaluated is also a critical analysis of media content that is closely related to the individual’s ability
to withstand misinformation. This study includes a ranking of individual EU countries according to the level
of media literacy. Similarly to the ranks of fake news, and in the context of media literacy, Nordic countries
are known to have an innovative approach to education and a long tradition in media education: Finland,
Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland. The worst rankings in the overall rating have, for example,
Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece or Slovakia.7
3. Fake news prevention
The basic prerequisite of prevention in the ght against fake news and misinformation is the developed
competence of critical thinking. This ability makes individuals able to critically approach media and their
content. V. Kačinová denes critical media assessment as “critically evaluating the media processed and
portrayed reality based on given criteria; verifying media-disseminated information, detecting irregularities,
manipulation techniques of media and advertising,...”
8
The European Project on Media Education, conducted
in cooperation with the European Commission, shows that the strengths of media education in Europe
(mainly Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Romania) are in emphasizing the competence of
critical thinking in relation to media and their content.9 The development of critical thinking and education
focused on critical analysis of media and media content are also very important in the United Kingdom,
the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovakia and Slovenia as part of their media education.10 European
countries, even those with a lower level of education, therefore show a clear eort to implement critical
thinking in their curricula. They are trying to educate their populations to become aware of media content,
which should, of course, also improve the resilience of individual countries to fake news.
In addition to enhancing critical analysis competence, an important role is played by the recipients’
instruments of protection against these negative phenomena. These are web portals that collect and publish
fake news, hoaxes, misinformation, and conspiracy theories. In addition to specialized websites, Facebook,
Google, an association of journalists, or journalists themselves are developing initiatives in this area as well.
Facebook as the most well-known social network has often been criticized in this area. It stems from
the nature of the social network and freedom of expression. Despite the fact, that Facebook is, in essence,
a space for the free sharing of information, the company is aware that various hoaxes, misinformation and
false messages are often found on the social network site. Over the past period, the company has spent a
lot of money on controlling fake accounts (“trolls”), often serving as propaganda tools in certain countries,
or as a means of spreading alarm messages, hoaxes, and misinformation. By May 2018, social network
workers have already removed 583 million fake accounts.11 In addition, Facebook oers the ability to mark
published posts as fake messages. Inappropriate content reporting also includes the ability to mark a post
as “It’s a fake news story”. This marked post is authenticated and, if it is really fake news, it is marked with
a text to alert you of this fact.
12
Such a measure raises the question of the credibility of users reporting such
content. That is why Facebook has begun to evaluate the credibility of individual users. If a regular Facebook
user identies a post as fake, the veriers will assess its veracity. If the message is really a false message,
7
Study on Assessment Criteria for Media Literacy Levels. Final Report. Brussels : EAVI, 2009. [online]. [2018-10-26].
Available at: <http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/culture/library/studies/literacy-criteria-report_en.pdf >.
8
 Communication Today, 2018, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 47.
9
PAROLA, A., RANIERI, M.: The Practice of Media Education: International Research on Six European Countries. In Journal
of Media Literacy Education, 2011, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 98.
10
PETRANOVÁ, D., HOSSOVÁ, M., VELICKÝ, P.: Current Development Trends of Media Literacy in European Union Countries.
In Communication Today, 2017, Vol. 8., No. 1, p. 63.
11
Facebook Publishes Enforcement Numbers for the First Time. [online]. [2018-10-28]. Available at: < https://newsroom.
fb.com/news/2018/05/enforcement-numbers/>.
12 MOSSERI, A.: Addressing Hoaxes and Fake News. [online]. [2018-10-28]. Available at: < https://newsroom.fb.com/
news/2016/12/news-feed-fyi-addressing-hoaxes-and-fake-news/>.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 33Studies
the user’s credibility will be high. But if someone denotes a fake news post that is true, his credibility will
drop. In this way, the company wants to ght internet trolls who can deliberately mark true information as
fake in pursuit of their goals and spread their own ideology.13
An important initiative is also the portal FactCheck.org. The International Fact-Checking Network at
Poynter has even declared International Fact-Checking Day on April 2, 2017. The factcheckingday.com
website oers a series of articles focused on information issues, relevance and truthfulness. For example,
tips are available for discovery of so-called urban legends or a website that shares false news. Exercises
and lessons are available for teachers in English, Spanish, Polish, Italian, French or Ukrainian.14
The media themselves play a big role in the ght against fake news. In most cases, journalists themselves
record a lot of fake news, trolls and hoaxes in discussions about published social networking reports. Good
work in this area is carried out by the Slovak daily newspaper Denník N. Due to the increased interest and the
visible spread of these negative phenomena, the editorial sta has begun to engage in education and has
published several handbooks and publications dealing with media functioning, media manipulation, critical
thinking, conspiracy, misinformation, hoax, fake news, and social networks. The rst publication of the diary
was the guide Klamstvá a konšpirácie
15
(Lies and Conspiracies). The initiative continued with the publication
of other publications: Kritick myslenie
16
(Critical Thinking) Ako fungujú mdiá
17
(How Media Work) a Pravda
a lož na Facebooku (The truth and a lie on Facebook). All of these publications are intended for secondary
schools and are useful in teaching topics related to this issue or the subject of media education itself.
A similar example is the editorial board of the Slovak daily newspaper SME, which created a subcategory
of their own web site Lovíme hoaxy (Hunting down hoaxes portal).18 Journal editorial of SME discovers
hoaxes and increases awareness of internet users and their readers in this area. In 2017, 37 French media
in collaboration with Google launched a similar initiative, creating a CrossCheck project, primarily aimed
at detecting misinformation, disinformation and verifying information related to the presidential election in
the country. 19
4. Conclusion
As we have already mentioned in the introductory section of the study, spreading false messages is faster
if these messages are emotional, surprising, or outrageous. According to R. Meyer, this report is spread
up to six times faster and aects a larger number of recipients. Attention is particularly attracted by its
novelty, its distinctiveness and its negative character.20 Research Media Literacy Index 2018 analysis also
points out that although fake news and misinformation are found mostly on the internet and in particular
on social networks, citizens are aware that this medium cannot be considered the most trusted. So-called
traditional media are more trusted than social networks: radio (70 %), television (66 %) and printed
newspapers and news magazines (63 %) have more trust than social networks and messaging apps (36 %).
21
13
HOSSOVÁ, M.: Facebook bojuje proti fake news, používateľom prideľuje skóre dôveryhodnosti. [online]. [2018-10-
28]. Available at: <https://medialnavychova.sk/facebook-bojuje-proti-fake-news-pouzivatelom-prideluje-skore-
doveryhodnosti/>.
14 HOSSOVÁ, M.: Medzinárodný deň overovania faktov 2017: Nenechajte sa oklamať, na faktoch záleží! [online]. [2018-
10-30]. Available at: < https://medialnavychova.sk/nenechajte-sa-oklamat-na-faktoch-zalezi/>.
15 See: Klamstvá akonšpirácie: Príručka pre stredné školy. [online]. [2018-10-30]. Available at: < https://a-static.projektn.
sk/2017/04/dennikN-prirucka-konspiracie.pdf>.
16   N magazín, 2017, Vol. 2, No. 1, 32 p. ISSN 2453-9597. [online].
[2018-10-30]. Available at: <https://a-static.projektn.sk/2017/11/casopis-kriticke-myslenie-low.pdf >.
17 N magazín, 2018, Vol. 3., No. 4, 84 p. ISSN 2453-9597. [online]. [2018-10-30]. Available at:
< https://a-static.projektn.sk/2018/04/n-magazin-media.pdf >.
18 Lovíme hoaxy. [online]. [2018-10-30]. Available at: <https://hoax.sme.sk/?ref=tlogo-sek>.
19
French newsrooms unite to ght election misinformation with the launch of CrossCheck. [online]. [2018-10-30].

source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer>.
20
MEYER, R.: The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News. [online]. [2018-10-24]. Available at: <https://
www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/largest-study-ever-fake-news-mit-twitter/555104/>.
21 LESENKI, M.: Common Sense Wanted: Resilience to ‘Post-Truth’ and its Predictors in the New Media Literacy Index
2018.
File/2018/MediaLiteracyIndex2018_publishENG.pdf>.
page 34 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
These ndings suggest that the activities of dierent projects and initiatives realized in this area form
awareness of the risks associated with the internet media and the post-factuality of the current society. It is
also important to constantly develop the competence of critical thinking in the context of lifelong learning.
According to the study Why Education Predicts Decreased Belief in Conspiracy Theories, a higher level
of education means higher resilience to the reported negative phenomenon. In general, we can say that
educated people have more analytical skills and have a lower tendency to believe in conspiracy theories
and related fake news.22
The key to success is therefore to increase the level of education and education itself. It is also necessary
to build and increase the digital literacy of individuals, which is related to searching, processing, sorting and
sharing information through new media and ICT. In addition to more specic digital literacy, it is necessary
to increase media literacy itself and to improve the social status of media literacy as a set of technical,
knowledge, civic and creative capabilities that allow access to and critical perception of the media.
Acknowledgement: This study was supported by the Research Support Fund of the UCM: FPPV-05-2018.
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KAČINOVÁ, V.: Media Competence as a Cross-Curricular Competence. In Communication Today, 2018,
Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 38-57. ISSN 1338-130X.
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projektn.sk/2017/04/dennikN-prirucka-konspiracie.pdf>.
Koncepcia mediálnej výchovy v Slovenskej republike v kontexte celoživotnho vzdelávania. Bratislava :
Ministerstvo kultúry SR, 2009, p. 17.
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<http://osi.bg/downloads/File/2018/MediaLiteracyIndex2018_publishENG.pdf>.
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prostriedkom/>.
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mit-twitter/555104/>.
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VAN PROOIJEN, J. W.: Why Education Predicts Decreased Belief in Conspiracy Theories. In Applied Cognitive Psychology,
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Author
Monika Hossová is a member of the Faculty of Mass Media Communication at the University of SS. Cyril and
Methodius in Trnava. She currently works at the Department of Media Education as an assistant professor and
teaches in the Applied Media Studies program. In her research activities, she focuses on increasing media literacy,
formal education in the eld of media education in Slovakia and the use of new media and ICT in educational
process. She is a member of the editorial board of the Media Literacy and Academic Research journal. She also
participates as a lecturer in the project of The National Institute for Education in Slovakia.
Monika Hossová
Faculty of Mass Media Communication,
University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava
Nám. J. Herdu 2,
917 01 Trnava
Slovak Republic
monika.hossova@ucm.sk
page 36 Studies
Media Literacy and Academic Research
ABSTRACT
This study examines the eect of social networking sites on students. It investigates the inuence of
Facebook and Twitter on the academic performance of postgraduate students of University of Ibadan.
The study employs survey and literary investigative approaches. Chapters in books, scholarly articles in
reputable journals, internet sources, and others serve as our critical sources of references and illustrations.
Furthermore, this study is foregrounded on Technological Determinism Theory which recognises the positive
eect of technology and its wide usage by people with diverse cultures. The theory simply explains how
technology does not adulterate cultures but help in reshaping, polishing and ne-tuning them. The study
reveals among other ndings that postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan spend much time on
Facebook and Twitter, and that this has positively aected their academic performance. The study concludes
that students and youths should channel the use of Facebook, Twitter among other social networking sites
into improving their academic performance, by creating study groups on these media platforms.
KEY WORDS
Media literacy. Social Networking Sites. Facebook. Twitter. Postgraduate Students.
The Influence of Facebook and Twitter
on the Academic Performance of
Postgraduate Students of the University
of Ibadan, Nigeria
photo: MikeRenpening
Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 37Studies
1. Introduction
Postmodernism and globalisation lends credence to the growth and development of social networking.
Globalisation is a relatively recent term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy
and results from dramatically increased international trade and cultural exchange.
1
When Marshal McLuhan
expatiated on the maxim, the world is a Global Village, what he meant was the convergence in thoughts,
messages, popular culture and so on, with the introduction of electronic mass media, the print media, and
most recently, social networking sites. Social networking has conrmed McLuhan’s prophecy of the world
becoming a Global village. Media technologies such as television have been able to bring, connect and
interconnect countries and continents into a single unit. This implies that ideologies are being shared by
various countries with the media of communication, cultures are being sold and assimilated and traditions
and mores are being eroded, discarded and accepted. This is a fusion and an interfusion of cultures.
Communication media have a means of socialisation. People of dierent races, backgrounds, educational
qualications, gender, ideologies, identity and so on, come together to share and crossbreed ideas and
ideologies. In recent times, there has been a convergence of these media of communication. Television, lm,
radio, the print media-magazines, books and newspapers come together in the same platform to express
their dierent functions of entertainment, information, stimulation and education. The Internet “has been
able to facilitate an intersection between the hot and cool media.”2 Paradigmatically, Vanguard and Punch
Nigerian newspapers, one can easily be assessed (i.e. the news itself), on their website. These online news
platforms also incorporate videos and audio to accompany the texts.
Media technologies and convergence have led to an inux in social networking sites. Social networking
sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Badoo, 2go, Eskimi, LinkedIn Snapchat and so on, have
been able to bridge the gap, nay ll the lacuna created by the traditional and broadcast media (television,
radio, newspapers etc). Social Networking sites have also facilitated an increase in political participation.
They have made almost every human being politically active as Oladitan and Anyanwu aver that.
The digital world has broken down every existing wall between political gladiators and society, creating
an avenue for freedom of expression for the citizenry. The emergence of social media has made it easy for
people to unanimously express subjective opinions and comments against political gladiators in society
without any fear of arrest.
The increase in the number of Social Networking sites and the accessibility of these sites by the old
and young, is as a result of the emergence of the internet as a fast communication channel. The villagisation
(permit us to use this term-by villagisation, we mean making Social Networking sites and platforms popular
among rural dwellers) of Social Networking sites has facilitated an increase in the intercourse of ideas,
thoughts and opinions. Without doubt, in Nigeria, Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Eskimi,
LinkedIn, Badoo, Instagram, 2go, Snapchat and others are mostly utilised by youths-especially students.
By and large, the proliferation of these social networking sites has led to the dependence of students on
them for information, education, communication, entertainment and most importantly, socialisation. The
above mentioned Social Networking sites have positive and/or negative eects on their audience-especially
students as various media eect theories have appropriated. In fact, Social Networking sites have created
a dierent modus operandi in the teaching and learning process in Secondary, Post-secondary and Tertiary
institutions in Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that this study examines the inuence of Social Networking
sites on the Academic performance of Postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, with a
focus on Facebook and Twitter.
1 ODUMU, A., OHIARE, A.: Discourse construction in blogs on South African xenophobic violence. In ODEBUNMI, A. et
al. (eds): Grammar, Applied Linguistics and Society: A festschrift for Wale Osisanwo. New York : Obafemi Awolowo
University Press, 2016, p. 21.
2 VIVIAN, J.: The media of mass communication. Boston : Pearson Publishers, 1991, p. 234.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
2. Historical Discourse on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook, is undoubtedly the most popular and most utilised of all social networking sites. It is one
of the few Social Networking sites that are automatically congured on Smart and Android phone devices.
It is an audio-visual social networking site. Participants on Facebook share ideas and communicate with
pictures, texts, videos and audio. Communities are created on Facebook. These communities are groups
that share information, ideas and communicate among themselves about issues that are prevalent in the
society. One can only see the information shared or participate in the idea sharing process when one is
a member of this group or community. Facebook also allows participant to create a prole, search and
receive friend requests. Participants can upload prole pictures, tag pictures and comment on pictures of
friends. It also gives participants the opportunity to upload and share information, either public or private.3
Facebook as a software package is a default application in most mobile phone, ipads, and other mobile
gadgets. With the high utility of telephone handsets, it is gain saying that users of Facebook in Nigeria,
have exceeded the 20 million mark. It was created in February 2004 by a Harvard University undergraduate
named Mark Zuckerberg. He co-founded Facebook with his college roommates and fellow computer science
students, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The site was initially created for Harvard
Students only. However, between early 2005 and 2006, Facebook expanded rstly to high school networks
and eventually to every internet user in general.4 The role Facebook plays in the daily lives of Nigerians
cannot be overemphasised. It constructs the thought pattern of its users and information is being circulated
among friends and communities. Facebook circulates culture. As a medium of communication, it also aids
countercultures. By counterculture, we mean actions, situations, attitudes and cultures that are oppositional
to traditional and existing culture. For instance, in some traditional African societies, twin birth was seen as
an abomination. Hence, twins were killed in these societies. Nevertheless, with the encroachment of Africa by
the British, French, German, Dutch and Portuguese Colonial masters, countercultures or counter-traditions
were introduced to stop this barbaric practice. Facebook also plays this role as it is used to enlighten the
populace on issues that do not align with the norms of the society. This is exemplied in the political tussle
in Egypt. Papacharissi and Oliveira aver that the Egyptian protests that led to the resignation of President
Hosni Mubarak were organised through a complex network that combined heavy Twitter and Facebook
use with other forms of interpersonal communication.5
President Hosni Mubarak clearly knew the power of the media, hence, he subjected it to the control of
his government. This was to facilitate seclusion from the outside world. Thus, other countries would not be
aware of the political imbroglio being caused by his government. He even relegated local and international
journalists to the background. However, the democratic media (social media most notably Facebook and
Twitter) lled in the gap left by the mainstream or traditional media of mass communication. The success of
Facebook in this foray, is not far-fetched from the fact that it is one of the most liberal, if not the cheapest of
all Social Networking sites. With a registered email or a telephone number, one can easily join the Facebook
community.
On the other hand, Twitter is also one of the most utilised social networking platforms in Nigeria. But
unlike Facebook and Whatsapp, it is a micro blogging site. The implication of the above statement is that
Facebook and Whatsapp has the capacity to send and receive very lengthy characters. In fact, they are
macro chat sites. However, on Twitter, the reverse in the case. D’Monte in Salau makes us understand
that Twitter is an online social networking and micro blogging service that enables its users to send and
read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as tweets.6 She states further that Twitter was
3
ASEMAH, E., EDEGOH, L.: An appraisal of the social media and insecurity in Nigeria. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication
and the New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council
for Commnication Education, 2013, p. 240.
4
OZURU, E., EKEANYANWU, N.: Audience assessment of the influence of social media networks on the global news
flow controversy. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication and the New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political
Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council for Communication Education, 2013, p. 105.
5 PAPACHARISSI, Z., OLIVEIRA, M.: Affective news and networked publics: A rhythms of news storytelling on Egypt. In
Journal of Communication, 2012, Vol. 62, No. 2, p. 266.
6 SALAU, A.: Twitter as sews source to select audiences in Ilorin, Nigeria. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication and the
New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council for
Communication Education, 2013, p. 190.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 39Studies
created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July. The space of Facebook and some other
networking sites are wider than that of Twitter. The founder of this blog never intended it to be used for news
dissemination. He made it a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected
through the exchange of quick, frequent messages in 140 characters or fewer that are posted ones prole
or ones blog and sent to ones followers.
From the formative stage of Twitter till date, it has grown to become a global social networking site.
Access to smart phones and browsing devices, and so on even in Third World nations of the world is a
major factor that has facilitated the increase in users of Twitter. As at 2012, the users of this networking site
number approximately 500 million and this has increased considerably. The popularity of Twitter in the social
networking enterprise further comes to bear in Salau’s articulation that new media are rapidly outanking
traditional ones because of their immediacy and proximity.7 Messages sent via Twitter are received within
seconds and are easily understood in the connes of our privacy. With this, the dissemination of information
becomes rapid and response becomes immediate. Traditional mass communication media like radio and
television take a longer time to relay information. In Nigeria for instance, a television viewer would have to
wait till 9:00pm before he watches the network news on Nigerian Television Authority. But the reverse is the
case with social media and networking sites. News and information are relayed as they happen instantly.
Twitter further increases the audience of traditional communication media such as television and radio.
Programmes in these media (television and radio) have generated more followership with the incorporation
of Twitter messages or Twitter facilitated communication. For instance, during football and other sports
related programmes, television and radio broadcasters usually request sports viewers to send in comments
with the medium of twitter. It is in the light of the above that Olise and Makka submit that the features of the
internet have made it very advantageous in many ways.8 One of these numerous advantages is the feature
of ‘News Groups.’ News groups or Chat groups are communities in social media that enable individuals who
belong to these groups to communicate and discuss specic issues of their interest and choices. These
groups could be categorised into Love Zones, Relationship Groups, Educational Groups, Religious Groups,
and so on. Although the social media group tradition is particular to almost all social media blogs such
as Facebook, Whatsapp, 2go and so on, it is a dominant feature of Twitter. This has greatly enhanced the
ow of ideas and knowledge around the globe. Twitter has also created spaces for communication among
students and sta in academia. Its use has been extended and embraced by many Nigerian institutions.
This is because there is a general belief that the internet would lead institutions to the promise land.9
3. Theoretical Framework
We anchor this research upon Technological Determinism Theory. This theory gives users of new technology
a rational and discerning face. It is an approach that identies technological advancements as central to
the process of social change which narrowly aligns with McLuhan’sviews that the dominant technological
advancements of the era help to refocus society.
10
Technological Determinism Theory recognises the positive
eect of technology and its wide usage by people with diverse cultures. The theory simply explains how
technology does not adulterate cultures but helps in reshaping, polishing and ne-tuning them.
11
Technological
7 SALAU, A.: Twitter as sews source to select audiences in Ilorin, Nigeria. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication and the
New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council for
Communication Education, 2013, p. 191.
8 OLISE, F., MAKKA, W.: Communication for development and modern ICTs: Nigeria at a crossroads In MOJAYE, E. et al.
(eds.): Health Communication, Gender Violence and ICTs in Nigeria. Ibadan : Ibadan University Press, 2003, p. 73.
9 OLISE, F., MAKKA, W.: Communication for development and modern ICTs: Nigeria at a crossroads. In MOJAYE, E. et
al. (eds.): Health Communication, Gender Violence and ICTs in Nigeria. Ibadan : Ibadan University Press, 2003, p. 71.
10 PRESLY, J.: Online communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability. Chichester : John Wiley and Sons, 2000,
p. 266.
11
OZURU, E., EKEANYANWU, N.: Audience assessment of the influence of social media networks on the global news
flow controversy. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication and the New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political
Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council for Communication Education, 2013, p. 113.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
Determinism Theory holds that changes in communication modes largely determine the course of history.
12
The utility of Social Networking Sites now determines how people behave, do things and even inuences their
habits. Social Networking sites create new environments. They determine the pace of societal development
and enhancement. Social media networks are parts of technological advancement. Although social media
networks have their advantages and demerits, this research examines the inuence of Facebook and Twitter
on postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
4. Methodology and Research Design
This study adopts the survey method. The use of the survey methodology stems from the fact that there
is no existing documented evidence or literature that denes the basis of our analysis. This research uses
survey as it is the most appropriate method, to reveal and evaluate the implication and inuence of Social
Networking sites on the academic performance of Postgraduate Students of University of Ibadan. This
study further uses survey method to evaluate primary data. The primary data that are evaluated are the
questionnaires that are applied. Secondary sources used for the study are information obtained from chapters
in books, articles in reputable local and international journals, internet sources and archival materials.
The Questionnaire Instrument of Data Collection
The questionnaire instrument is utilized for various reasons. First and foremost, it is the fastest way of getting
the opinions of diverse people about a concept in the shortest time frame. In addition, because respondents
could be very busy or shy in the presence of an interviewer, responses from a questionnaire are valid. The
questionnaire is structured in two parts. The rst section contains questions which are designed to elicit
the demographic details of the respondents. The second part contains questions designed to answer basic
research questions. The questions are open and close-ended types.
Population of the Study
The population for the study is Nigerian Universities. Although this study is conducted in the University of
Ibadan, it is only a microcosm of the larger Nigerian universities. The large size of this population prompted
the need for a sample.
Study Sample and Size
Nigerian universities are made up of both public and private universities. The sample for the study is
University of Ibadan postgraduate students. It is a conglomeration of postgraduate students that cuts across
many faculties and departments. There are thirteen faculties all together in the University of Ibadan. They
are, faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Social sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of management sciences,
Faculty of Arts, Faculty of life sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Education,
School of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Dentistry. Under the aforementioned
faculties, are 85 departments. All these departments have their Postgraduate programmes. The majority
of postgraduate students are active users of social networking sites.
Sampling Technique and Research Instrument
This study adopts the Proportional Sampling Technique. The research is proportionate since 10 % of
Postgraduate students in every departments, irrespective of the population, are sampled. The research
instrument for this study is questionnaire. This instrument is used to gather data on the eect of Social
Networking Sites on Postgraduate students of University of Ibadan.
12
ASEMAH, E., EDEGOH, L.: An appraisal of the social media and insecurity in Nigeria. In WILSON, D. (ed.): Communication
and the New Media in Nigeria: Social Engagements, Political Development and Public Discourse. Lagos : African Council
for Communication Education, 2013, p. 237.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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Validity and Reliability of the study
The questionnaire instrument is reliable. To strengthen the reliability of the questionnaires, a pilot survey
was conducted. Thirty copies of the questionnaire were initially served on a mini community (friends) in
Zaria. The positive response obtained from the questionnaire instrument, conrmed its reliability before the
questionnaires were administered on the sampled population. The reliability of the questionnaire instrument,
coupled with the large response of respondents, shows that the ndings are valid.
Method of Data Collection
The method employed for the analysis of data gathered from the questionnaire is the simple percentage
method in which the degree of response was computed by dividing the number of respondents by the total
number of samples and multiplying it by a hundred as represented below:
Degree of response = Total number of respondents x 100
Total number of sample 1
This paper reveals the research methodology employed for the study.
Presentation and Analysis of Demographic Data of Respondents
Demographic data
A total of 500 questionnaires were administered. However, 400 were retrieved. The balance not retrieved
was due to unreturned mails and respondents who promised but didn’t show up again. Therefore, this
analysis is based on the 400 retrieved questionnaires. Under the Demographic variables, as in Question
1., 120 males completed the questionnaire and the other 280 were females. The table below shows this
graphically and the percentage. This would appear that there were more females sampled then males as
the table suggests. However, we know that the total number of postgraduate students in the University of
Ibadan is not as heavily skewed as the table shows. Therefore it could just be accidental that more females
responded. Even then, there are more females than males on the postgraduate programme but certainly,
they do not outweigh the males by 100 %.
Gender Distribution of Respondents
Variables Frequency Percentage
Male 120 30%
Female 280 70%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 1: Gender Distribution of Respondents
Source: Field Survey, 2018
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
With regards to the marital status of the respondents, we have the data obtained as follows:
Marital Status of Respondents
Variables Frequency Percentage
Single 280 70%
Married 100 25%
Divorce 20 5%
Others 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 2: Martial Status of Respondents
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This data table shows that there is high preponderance of unmarried people in the postgraduate
programme while married people are also present in the programme alongside those who are divorced.
The interesting thing about this data is that many young people have found their way into the postgraduate
programme. This is perhaps explained by the fact that there are no jobs in the country at the moment and
many people are therefore registered for the programme to improve their chances of employability.
Age Distribution of Respondents
Variables Frequency Percentage
Single 200 50%
Married 140 35%
Divorce 40 10%
Others 20 5%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 3: Age Distribution of Respondents
Source: Field Survey, 2018
The data in the above table shows that 200 of the respondents constituting 50% of the total sample
are within the age bracket of 20-25 years. The table further reveals that 140 (35 %) of the respondents
fall within the age of 26-30. Furthermore, 40 (10 %) of the respondents fall between the age of 31-40, and
20 respondents constituting 5 % were 41 years and above. The implication of this data in table 3 is that
there is a higher percent of younger people than aged among amongst the sample. This is understandable
because postgraduate programmes in Nigeria have been taken over by young people as a result of non-
employability. Consequently, this sample size represents the active users of social media especially in
relation to academic usage and performance.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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Educational Qualication of Respondents
Variables Frequency Percentage
PGD 76 19%
Masters 324 81%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 4: Educational Qualication of Respondents
Source: Field Survey, 2018
The data in table 4 above shows that 76 respondents making up 19 % of the total respondents are PhD
students while the remaining 324 respondents (81 %) are Masters students. There is a higher number of
masters and PhD students than postgraduate diploma students. The implication is that the higher degree
people are likely to be more aggressive in the usage of social networking sites to advance their academic
potentials.
Psychographic Data
Whether respondents are postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan?
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 400 100%
No 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 5: Whether respondents are postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan?
Source: Field Survey, 2018
Table 6 reveals that the 400 respondents to the questionnaires distributed which constitute 100 % are
all postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan. The table revealed that all the students sampled are
postgraduate and therefore, there is no inltration into the sample size. The consequence of this is that
every possible avenue for a purposive sample are realised.
How long have respondents beed postgraduate students in the University of Ibadan?
Variables Frequency Percentage
1 year 236 59%
2 year 120 30%
3 year 44 11%
4 year and above 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 6: How long have respondents been postgraduate students in the University of Ibadan?
Source: Field Survey, 2018
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
Table 7 investigates the number of years respondents have spent on their postgraduate programme.
While 236 students or 59 % have spent one year, 120 students which constitutes 30 % have spent two
years. Furthermore, 44 (11 %) respondents have been on the postgraduate programme for three years
and none of them have been on it for four years and above. Of the total sample, more freshmen are in the
highest category of those registered in the programme. It would appear therefore that students who are
registered for postgraduate studies in the University of Ibadan make rapid progress with their work. It could
well be that their use of social media sites help them to acquire enough information and easily too-thus
helping them to make quick progress.
Whether respondets use social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 400 100%
No 0 0%
Sometimes 0 0%
Never 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 7: Whether respondents use social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
The question seeks to nd out whether the respondents use Social Networking sites. From the table
above, all the respondents are agreed that they use Social Networking sites. The implication of this value is
that the respondents are sensitive to Social media usage and depend on it for information, and especially
that related to their studies.
Benets derived from using social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Full information on Subjects 84 21%
Entertainment 80 20%
To while away time 66 16,5%
For research and education 170 42,5%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 8: Benets derived from using social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This question attempts to nd out if there are benets derived from using social networking sites.
84 respondents which is 21 % are agreed that they use it for seeking and obtaining information on
subjects, especially in their areas of discipline. 20 % of the total gure value use social networking sites
for entertainment, while 16,5 % use it for leisure. 42,5 % however, use it solely for research and education.
The preponderant view therefore is that social networking sites is informative and helps scholarship. If we
add the rst 21 % to the 42,5 %, it will become obvious that the dominant use of social networking sites
is for information and learning. No wonder then that postgraduate students use it frequently.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
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How often respondents visit social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Often 208 52%
Not often 124 31%
Sometimes 68 17%
Not at all 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 9: How often respondents visit social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This part of the study deals with the frequency of use of these social networking sites. 52 % agreed that
they use the sites often, while 31 % said “not often” 17 % use the sites sometimes. From this result it is
clear that there is a high frequency of the use of these sites. This perhaps explains why many postgraduate
students are hooked on the sites.
How many hours respondents spend on social networking sites daily
Variables Frequency Percentage
0 - 2 hours 56 14%
3 - 6 hours 224 56%
6 - 12 hours 80 20%
12 - 24 hours 40 10%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 10: How many hours respondents spend on social networking sites daily
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This deals with the amount of time spent on each site daily. From this result, 14 % spend 0-2 hours
daily, 56 % spend between 3-6 hours, 20 % spend 6-12 hours daily, while 10 % spend between 12-24
hours. The implication of this result is that a majority of the respondents spend between 3-6 hours daily.
This is perhaps accounted for by fact that the sampled population, which is postgraduate students, have
several other compelling things to deal with. However, the fact that they spend amount of time shows that
they really believe in social networking sites and are obviously serving gains from it. The other categories
of respondents obviously must either be using the sites for business or are completely idle. However, we
cannot conclude that this is the position unless we verify it further.
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Whether respondents agree that one can be addicted to social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Agree 316 79%
Disagree 40 10%
Sometimes 40 10%
Never 4 1%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 11: Whether respondents agree that one can be addicted to social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This question deals with the possibility of addiction to social networking sites. The result shows that
79 % are in agreement that there is addiction to social networking sites. 10 % are in disagreement on this,
another 10 % is unsure while 1 % argue that they can never be addicted. The implication of this, again is
that those who use these sites and benet from it can get addicted. The other values are very negligible.
Whether social networking sites make engaging in intellectual discourse with colleagues easy
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 272 68%
No 88 22%
Sometimes 28 7%
Never 12 3%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 12: Whether social networking sites make engaging in intellectual discourse with colleagues easy
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This question seeks to nd out whether social networking sites makes engaging with colleagues
easy. The result is that 68 % think so, 22 % are not agreed on this, 7 % agreed that sometimes, this is
possible while 3 % said never. The result has shown that many postgraduate students interact easily with
contemporaries using this site. The reason is not just because of the conveniences of use, but because,
in this information age, so much is available in these sites to create a common meeting point for both
scholarly and entertainment.
Do respondents study their books with the aid of sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 300 75%
No 20 5%
Sometimes 50 12,5%
Never 30 7,5%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 13: Do respondents study their books with the aid of sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 47Studies
The result shows that 75 % believe this happens, 5 % are not agreed on this while 12,5 % say that
sometimes they study using the social networking sites. Interestingly, 7,5 % say they never study with
the aid of social networking sites. From the above results, it is pretty obvious that the consistency of high
values we have received from the use and adoption of social networking sites is informed by the fact that
many postgraduate students study side by side using social networking sites. This goes to conrm that
postgraduate students are truly dependent on social networking sites because of the associated benets
they derive from it.
Whether social networking sites inuence respondent’s academic performance
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 288 72%
No 32 8%
Sometimes 80 20%
Never 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 14: Whether social networking sites influence respondent’s academic performance
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This question seeks to nd out whether social networking sites inuence academic performance. The
result showed that 72 % of the respondents are agreed that social networking sites inuence academic
performance, while 8 % do not share that viewpoint. However, 20 % of respondents believe that social
networking sites sometimes inuence academic performances. With the above result, it would seem that
postgraduate students who engage in the use of social networking sites actually believe that they are
helped by using them and conversely, their academic performances too. The fact that a tiny fraction of 8
% disagreeing, seems to even further buttress this dominant position.
Whether it is fun chatting with Facebook and Twitter
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 280 70%
No 20 5%
Sometimes 98 24,5%
Never 2 0,5%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 15: Whether it is fun chatting with Facebook and Twitter
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This seeks to nd out whether it is fun chatting on these social networking sites. It’s obvious that this
question doesn’t seem to measure the value of academic relevance or dependence on social media. Rather,
it seeks to explore its entertainment value. The result shows that 70 % believe that it is fun chatting on these
sites. 5 % do not think so while 24,5 % are not sure. The implication of this is that apart from the academic
value of these sites, there is also an entertainment which is reected in the gures above. Consequently,
social networking sites serve multiple purposes for their users -depending on the peculiar need of the user.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
Whether respondents are better equipped as postgraduate students to use social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 288 72%
No 32 8%
Not Sure 80 20%
Maybe 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 16: Whether respondents are better equipped as postgraduate students to use social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This seeks to nd out whether respondents, as Postgraduate Students, are better equipped to use social
networking sites. The result presents us with very interesting data. 72 % are agreed that the post graduate
students are very well equipped to use these social sites while 20 % are not sure. An insignicant 8 % are
convinced that not all postgraduate students are equipped to use these sites. This result shows that from
interaction with fellow students, some are not Information compliant and are also timid and uninformed
when it comes to deploying New Media tools and scholarship.
Whether exposure to social networking sites has helped respondents academic work
Variables Frequency Percentage
Very much 288 72%
Not Sure 32 8%
A bit 80 20%
Not at all 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 17: Whether exposure to social networking sites has helped respondents academic work
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This question probes into the aid that these sites provide for Postgraduate Students. It is obvious from
the table presented that these social networking sites have actually helped many Postgraduate Students.
72 % are agreed that these sites are very helpful while 20 % are not agreed and the balance of 8 % are not
sure. If we read this result in tandem with previous results, we cannot but arrive at the conclusion that these
social networking sites have been quite helpful. However, 20 % is also a signicant value and cannot be
ignored easily. It could represent the actual value of those who are not technologically savvy to use these
sites and perhaps, those who could, but have no access. In all, 72 % is very signicant in realising our
conclusion that social networking sites aid studies for Postgraduate Students.
Media Literacy and Academic Research
page 49Studies
Whether respondents think they would have beneted less without social networking sites
Variables Frequency Percentage
Yes 248 62%
No 132 33%
Not Sure 20 5%
Maybe 0 0%
Total 400 100%
SCHEME 18: Whether respondents think they would have beneted less without social networking sites
Source: Field Survey, 2018
This nal question seeks to know whether respondents would have beneted less without social
networking sites. 62 % are agreed, 33 % are denite that they would not have beneted less, while 5 %
are not sure. This result is as previous values. 62 % is a very signicant value arguing that without social
networking sites they would not have beneted immensely. Those who argue against this position are
perhaps, the lot already accounted for as not being tech savvy and perhaps without access. The balance
of 5 % are very much undecided which shows that they too, are perhaps, not adequate or full beneciaries
of this medium. It is safe to conclude then that with Social Networking sites, most postgraduate students
have to obtain optimum academic benets.
5. Discussion of Findings
From the foregoing, it has come to the fore in this study that postgraduate students of the University of
Ibadan, Nigeria, utilise social networking sites especially Facebook and Twitter. Although Facebook and
Twitter are entertainment platforms, postgraduate students study side by side using social networking
sites. They are also apt in educating their users. Students spend time on Facebook and Twitter. 56 % of
respondents agree that they spend between 3-6 hours on either Facebook or Twitter daily. The educational
function of these social networking sites transcends their entertainment functions. This stems from the fact
that networking is the encoding and decoding of symbols. These symbols, whether in pictures, characters
(words) or videos, are ideas and information. However, addiction to social networking sites ought to be
curtailed as this study reveals that up to 316 (79 %) respondents of the 400 people sampled, are addicted
to Facebook and Twitter. These social networking sites have positively aected the academic performance
of postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Furthermore, the majority (62 %) of the
respondents in the study agree that they would have benetted less in their academic studies with the
absence of social networking sites. In other words, the non-utility of Facebook and Twitter would have had
an adverse and negative eect on their academic performance.
6. Conclusion
It is apparent that the utility of social networking sites-especially Facebook and Twitter would help students
in their academic studies. Virtual communities are created by students and academic issues discussed in
these group chats. Conclusively, with the ndings in this study, undergraduate students could also emulate
postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in utilising Facebook and Twitter in their academic
works. We also recommend that students in other institutions of higher learning in Nigeria and abroad should
channel the use of Facebook, Twitter among other social networking sites into improving their academic
performance, by creating study groups on these social media platforms.
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Media Literacy and Academic Research
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Author
Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah is a PhD Candidate at the Department of the Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, Ilorin,
Nigeria. He holds a B.A (Hons) Degree in Theatre Arts from Delta State University Abraka, Nigeria,