Facebook nation: 55% of Maltese share on daily basis

Malta is the leading nation in Europe when it comes to using social networks on a daily basis to disseminate information

55% of the Maltese use a social media network everyday to share pictures, articles, videos and movies – a survey by the EU’s statistics agency has found.

This makes the Maltese the leaders in Europe when it comes to using social networks on a daily basis to disseminate information.

This emerges from a Europe-wide Eurobarometer survey conducted in all 28 member states conducted in April and published this week.

On average only 37% of all EU citizens use social networks to share stuff on a daily basis, while 60% do so on a weekly basis.

But in Malta 72% used social networks for the same purpose at least once a week – at par with the Italians and second only to the Portuguese, 79% of whom share stuff on the social media at least once a week.

In contrast, the lowest proportions of Internet users using online social networks at least once a week are observed among internet users in Germany (42%), Slovenia (49%), Denmark and France (both 51%). 

Percentage who engage in online activities on a daily basis (Source: Eurobarometer)
Percentage who engage in online activities on a daily basis (Source: Eurobarometer)

Only 20% of Maltese never use social networks to share posts, eight points lower than the EU average of 28%.

The data confirms the parallel dimension of Maltese people’s social circles, onto a social media ecosystem like Facebook.

When MaltaToday asked social media expert Alex Grech to predict what would change in 2016 in terms of social media, the academic promptly replied that the technology and society itself would continue to feed off each other: “We discover new online content via a toxic dependency on apps and the stream from our social media of choice, served to us on our mobile phone…  We are now all slaves to the ‘popular’ and the most-recent: we live in online echo-chambers.”

Even newspapers have become dependent on the social media buzz, with news stories being generated by Facebook commentary or irresponsible posts and social media tiffs.

“I don’t think the Maltese are going to get any nicer in their use of social media in 2016,” Grech had predicted back in January. “We continue to develop our taste for anonymous trolling on village ‘zekzik-style’ surveillance blogs and mainstream media sites,” Grech said, calling for an education drive to raise awareness on digital literacies in the classroom, the boardroom and the home. 

“We need to understand how technology both enhances and constrains pre-existing cultural practices. The sooner we do this, the better if we still wish to put our so-called social media to good use. I’m not sure we do.”

Online dependence

The survey shows that 69% of the Maltese use search engines to help them find stuff on the internet on a daily basis, compared to the EU average of 57%. Only the Swedes and the British make a greater use of search engines.

And 13% of Maltese use the internet every day to buy stuff – four points more than the EU average.

But while the Maltese are avid online users, 54% are concerned about the data collected about them on the Internet. This corresponds to the level of concern expressed by Europeans in general.

56% of Maltese also expect public authorities to regulate online platforms to limit the extent to which they display different search engine results based on the information stored about them. Only 34% feel comfortable with search engines using stored information about their online activity. 

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