Mass media activism on the rise, survey finds
ROME — — For the first time, a survey of 1,000 people who use social media shows a spike in use of social media in Italy, with almost three-quarters of those surveyed saying they use it regularly, according to a study published in the International Journal of Public Health.
The research, conducted by the University of Padova and published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs, found that in the first half of this year, a majority of Italians were using social media to report incidents or share their opinions on social issues.
The number of people using social networking rose by a third in the last two months, according the survey, which was conducted from March 10 to March 12.
It found that, overall, the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms was rising.
The rise in use has led to concern that the internet could be turning into a major health threat.
“Social media has played a role in shaping the future of Italy and its citizens in general,” said Dr. Fabrizio Capaldi, the lead author of the study.
His study was funded by the European Commission.
The increase in use in Italy has been driven by the country’s recent economic crisis, a worsening housing crisis, the increasing number of homeless people and an uptick in the use by young people.
The increase is most pronounced among the young, the study found.
The study also found that more people are using social networks to report harassment and abuse, particularly against people with disabilities.
The use of digital platforms is increasing rapidly across Europe, especially in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other Western nations, said study co-author Dr. Elena De Stefano.
Social media users also use it to talk to each other and with friends, to share news and opinions about social issues and to create their own content.
Italy, with a population of more than 4 million, has the highest number of users of social networking platforms in Europe, with more than 10 million people using them regularly, the survey found.