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Almost as many Americans getting Ukraine news from social media as TV: poll

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Almost as many Americans are getting news on the Russia-Ukraine conflict from social media as they are from television networks, according to new data by the National Research Group (NRG) exclusively provided to The Hill.

The poll of Americans ages 13 to 54 found that 58 percent of respondents were learning about the conflict through social media, compared to 65 percent who were getting their news from TV.

The survey, which was conducted from March 7 to March 20, was distributed to volunteer samples in 12 countries: the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico and Brazil.

“The vast majority of people in these countries are following the news coming out of Russia and Ukraine,” said Matt Blong, senior vice president of global tracking at NRG.

Both globally and in the U.S., 18- to 24-year-olds received news from social media at higher rates than from television.

“Those 18- to 24-year-olds, you’re seeing they are more socially active on social media and that’s the content that they trust, for better or for worse, the opinions of the people they follow on social media,” Blong told The Hill.

A large majority of American 18- to 24-year-olds, 78 percent, found news on the crisis through social media, while 46 percent said they learned about the conflict from TV.

In comparison, 67 percent of the age group globally found Russia-Ukraine news on social media and 59 percent were informed by TV.

“What I see is much more advocacy-related conversations and discussions of solution-oriented activities that are happening,” said NRG Chief Marketing Officer Grady Miller in reference to social media. “It’s much more around solutioning than simply reporting on the latest events of the day, and it tends to be more around what’s being done on a more grassroots level.”

The rates of news gathering from social media were particularly high in China and the two Latin American countries surveyed, Mexico and Brazil, researchers said.

While most global respondents indicated support for Ukraine, Chinese respondents were more likely than others to support the Russian invasion and to encounter pro-Russia content on social media.

Nonetheless, globally, support for Ukraine was significantly higher.

“Across most of our markets, or all of our markets essentially, the support for the Ukraine side of it is overwhelmingly strong, almost the vast majority are supporting that side,” Blong said.

—Updated at 4:56 p.m.

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