While we love to read the popular and spunky news on Twitter, it turns out that traditional media sources don’t even cover half of it.
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid study focused on the ‘trending topics’ of Twitter from 35 countries over three months in 2013, and from over 62 countries over the same period in 2014.
There were more than 300,000 ‘trending topics’ generated in different countries and at different times were obtained.
Researcher Ruben Cuevas said that they reached the conclusion that the geographic dissemination of news on social networks preserves some of the biases present in the dissemination of traditional news, like the fact that it tends to flow more from rich countries to poor countries.
Cuevas added that the study revealed that there was another important bias among countries that speak the same language: a cultural one. For the second part of the study, the researchers employed a new methodology.
They used the Google News service as it detects which ‘trending topics’ appear in traditional media sources. The analysis focused on Canada, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Out of the four countries, Spain was the country where Twitter showed the lowest capacity to gather news ahead of the traditional media.
The researchers said that if they looked at the news that is reported by both sources, more than 60 percent of it appears first on Twitter, while less than 10 percent appears first in the traditional media.
Specifically, 60 percent of the news that becomes a ‘trending topic’ appears first on Twitter, 10 percent appears first in the main on-line newspapers and the remaining 30 percent appears the same day on Twitter and in the traditional media.
The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.