According to foreign media reports,About a quarter (26%) of American adults say they get news by watching YouTube videos, according to a new Pew Research Center study.The study examined the growing influence of Google's video platform on news dissemination and consumption in the United States.
The independent channels in this study are defined as those without clear external connections. At the same time, news agency channels are channels associated with external news organizations such as CNN or Fox News.
Pew found that these two different types of news channels were common, with 49% of popular news channels affiliated to news organizations and 42% not.
A small proportion (9%) came from other organizations that published news, including government agencies, research institutions and propaganda agencies.
To determine the findings, the Pew Research Center conducted a representative panel survey of 12638 American adults from January 6 to January 20, 2020.
The study found that most Americans (72 percent) thought YouTube was their most important way to get news (59 percent) or the most important way (13 percent). Most also said they didn't think there was a big problem getting news from the site, but they did express some modest concerns about misinformation, political bias, YouTube's repeal policy and censorship.
It is understood that Republicans in the United States and independents inclined to the Republican Party are more likely to think that censorship, abolition of monetary policy and political bias are the biggest problems on youtube, while Democrats and independents inclined to the Democratic Party are more likely to think that the biggest problems are information errors and harassment.
The second part of the study includes the content analysis of 377 most popular YouTube news channels in November 2019, and the analysis of youtube video content published by the 100 channels with the highest median views in December 2019. Pew said the work was done by a combination of human and computational methods.
As a result, more than 40%(44%) of YouTube popular channels can be described as "personality driven" channels, that is, channels are around a person. This could be a journalist hired by an existing news agency or an independent moderator. More often, however, it appears that 70% of independent channels revolve around a person, a video master with a large number of fans. True ,57% of independent channels are driven by YouTube video masters, while only 13% of channels revolve around people who were already public figures before gaining attention on YouTube.
The study also examined other aspects of the YouTube news environment and the themes presented.
According to YouTube news consumers themselves, 66% said watching YouTube news videos helped them better understand current events; 73% thought the videos were roughly accurate and they preferred to watch them carefully (68%).
About half (48%) said they would look for "direct reports" on YouTube - focusing only on meaning, information and facts. At the same time, 51% of respondents said they were mainly looking for opinions and comments.
Answering the open question why YouTube is a unique place to get news, the most common answers are those related to video content-for example, they contain news outside the mainstream or they contain many different views and opinions.
Pew also investigated the frequency of news channels mentioning conspiracy theories, such as those related to qanon, Jeffrey Epstein and the anti VAX movement.
An analysis of nearly 3,000 videos from the 100 most watched channels on the YouTube in December 2019 found that 21% of the videos from independent channels mentioned conspiracy theory, while only 2% from established news organizations mentioned conspiracy theory. QAnon is the most frequently mentioned conspiracy theory, discussed in 14% of independent channel videos, and only 2% of established news organizations.
In addition, independent channels are twice as likely as established news organizations to broadcast news in a negative tone.
Overall, of the top 100 YouTube news channels evaluated in December 2019, videos were neither too negative nor too positive (69%). But by type, 37% of the videos on independent channels are negative, compared with 17% for established news organizations. Among them, negative video is also more popular. Among all channels, the average number of negative videos was 184000, that of neutral or mixed tone videos was 172 000, and that of positive videos was only 117000.
At the same time, videos about the trump government accounted for the largest proportion of visitors in December 2019, with about one-third (36%) of the videos were about impeachment of trump, and 31% were about domestic issues such as gun control, abortion or immigration. The other 9% is related to international affairs. The average number of videos about the trump administration was about 250000, compared with 122000 for other subjects. Among the videos studied, trump was the most common focus, accounting for about 1 / 4 (24%).
By contrast, the videos surrounding the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential primaries accounted for only 12% of the news videos.
The study also examined how YouTube news channels present themselves. The study found that the vast majority of people did not explicitly express their political ideology, even if their video content showed that they had ideological tendencies.
Only about 12% of YouTube news channels express their political ideology in their descriptions. Among them, 8% incline to the right and 4% to the left. Independent news channels are more likely to use partisan jargon and are more likely to say they are leaning to the right.
The demographics of typical YouTube news consumers were also part of the study. The Pew Research Center found that compared with adults in the United States as a whole, the proportion of young people and men watching news videos is higher, and the proportion of white people is lower. About a third (34%) of people are under 30, compared with 21% of American adults; 71% are under 50, compared with 55% of American adults.
58 percent of YouTube news users are more likely to be male, compared with 48 percent of adults in the United States. In addition, half of the users (50 per cent) were white, 14 per cent black and 25 per cent Hispanic. In the United States, the proportion is 63%, 12% and 16%, respectively.