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Research shows that minorities use Twitter to voice problems ahead of regular coverage

FILE PHOTO: People who have mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Image/File Photo S1AEUIPASIAA

The trust of major news outlets on Twitter is low, but still, Twitter users often worry about certain problems before they are picked up by the same mainstream outlets.

In the largest study of Twitter conversations from the three ethnic minorities is carried out, a report commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and published on February 27, shared insights into Twitter’s role in the news cycle. The study comes as several social media platforms continue to be a constant battle against fake news.

The study looks at three social media subcultures, which the group has the name, Black Twitter, Feminist Twitter, Asian and American Twitter. The researchers looked at more than 46 million tweets from hashtags related to the communities in 2015 and 2016. The use of human analysis, in addition to the software to pick up patterns in the data, the group also held interviews with both community members and journalists. The results of the study are available in a full report and an interactive website created by Postlight, which consists of interactive graphs on the biggest hashtags used in the study.

In one of the most important findings of the research of the author to suggest that Twitter gives a voice to those subcultures, which serve as a platform to share for a subject is picked up by the major news networks, or to share with their own comment. On the other hand, the interviews highlighted how many journalists use Twitter for the insight — and even embed tweets in articles as a look at how the community reacts to the subject. (The latter, the study suggests, makes a number of Twitter users uncomfortable because the practice can potentially open the original tweeter harassment, and can also increase the intellectual property concerns).

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While fake news is constantly making headlines, such as social media platforms changes in the aftermath of the investigation to the Russian interference in the AMERICAN elections, the study suggests that Twitter users are more engaged with the development of the story. Many of the tweets in the study were wary of that data was emphasized more than others.

After the review of 23 major news outlets, the study suggests Twitter users are two times more likely to tweet a negative image instead of a positive. The analysis has also suggested that the number of times a news story was shared was not bound to an “approval rating,” because there is but one of the most shared news media in the study actually had a favorable rating.

“A strong future for journalism is dependent on accurate reporting that reflects the stories and interests of all our communities,” LaSharah Bunting, Knight Foundation director for journalism, said in a press release. “The report offers a window on how some of these communities interact with the news on their own terms, opening an opportunity for journalists to connect with their audience in new and different ways.”

The full report is available online.

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