The report ‘In Repressive Countries, Citizens Go ‘Dark’ to Share Independent News‘, authored by Kate Musgrave and published by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), finds that in some of the world’s most repressive media environments, dark social might be playing a great role.
A CIMA analysis of data obtained from Chartbeat suggests that in such environments, citizens are gravitating away from Facebook, Twitter, and other public platforms and toward channels perceived to be more secure and private when sharing and discussing news.
While publishers everywhere need to find distribution strategies that work well with dark social forms of sharing, independent news publishers working in oppressive environments might have an even larger incentive.
CIMA’s analysis of audience data from nearly 40 countries yields a statistically significant correlation between freedom of the press and reliance on dark social sharing: the more repressive the media environment, the more likely the audience is to access news through dark social.
Even more illustrative of this trend, however, are some of the data points where that correlation seems the strongest, as in Turkey and Russia. In these cases, delving into incidents over the timeframe of the dataset, 2016, strongly suggests causation.
Where independent news coverage is under attack, there are inevitably reverberations in how that news is accessed and shared.