The Portuguese spend 129 minutes a day on social media


The Portuguese spend, on average, 129 minutes a day on social networks, with Portugal being the fifth country in the European Union (EU) with the most use of these platforms and, therefore, the most exposed to phenomena such as disinformation and political dissemination.

The data are contained in a report released today by the Joint Research Center (JRC), the internal scientific service of the European Commission, on “Technology and democracy”, created by community researchers to “understand the influence of digital technologies on political behavior and on the decision-making processes of decisions “.

According to the document, last year “48% of EU citizens used social networks every day or almost every day” and “the average daily time of use – through any device – varied between 129 minutes per day in Portugal and 64 minutes in Germany ”.

“Social networks have become an omnipresent feature of life”, as through these digital platforms “it is possible to know everything from family events and friends’ adventures to political developments, simply by checking the murals of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter”, points out the CCR in the report.

Regarding the weight of social networks in the digital use of EU citizens, in January 2020 Portugal ranked fifth among the Member States that have used these platforms the most, preceded by Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia and Denmark, according to the data presented in the document.

According to the same information, between July 2019 and July 2020, almost all (98.5%) the use of social networks in the EU was based on five platforms, all North American: Facebook (75.66%), Pinterest (8 , 78%), Twitter (7.61%), Instagram (4.47%) and YouTube (1.14%).

Analyzing these data and their consequences, the JRC concluded in this report that “there is scientific evidence that social networks change the political behavior of people ‘offline’, which includes inciting dangerous behavior, such as hate crime” .

This is because “four pressure points that emerge when people and the ‘online’ environment are brought into contact without great public control or democratic governance” have been identified, namely the economy of attention, the definitions of choice, the custom algorithm and the so-called ‘fake’. news’.

Regarding ‘fake news’, the CCI explains that social networks bring together the “perfect conditions for the spread of disinformation”, since there are “algorithms that promote attractive content” and “strong predisposition of people to orient themselves towards negative news, since most of the fake news tends to arouse negative emotions such as fear, anger and indignation ”.

As for politics, experts warn that isolated “online” spaces can function as laboratories that develop extremist talking points. “

Reacting to these conclusions, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, notes in a statement that social networks can indeed be used to “spread polarizing messages and misleading information, which can make it difficult to make informed political decisions ”.

This is why he adds that it is necessary “to take the right actions to safeguard a participatory and democratic future for the benefit of all European citizens”.


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