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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 11, 2015

Negativity towards social media grows in China

Despite more people in China using social media than ever before, the number who have a negative view of such platforms is growing, according to recent research from Kantar.

by Helen Leggatt

In its latest China Social Media Impact Report (.pdf), for which 13,341 online users in China were surveyed, as well as face-to-face interviews and text-mining of Weibo and WeChat posts, Kantar found that, for the most part, people felt that social media's impact was positive. Nearly two-thirds (64.7%) had a positive view of social media compared to just 12.2% who believe it had a negative impact. Around a quarter (23.1%) were neutral.

However, the number of people who held positive views has dropped significantly from a similar survey Kantar conducted last year, down 12.1%, as the number holding negative views almost doubled from 2014's 6.7%.

The reasons behind the rise in negativity towards social media were varied. Many Chinese people felt they were now spending too much time on social media while others expressed privacy concerns, decreased time reading, sleep deprivation and worsening eye-sight.

"As social media becomes less new, it is no longer the cool thing to do and loses part of its charm in certain groups", said Sophie Shen, general manager of CTR Media & Consumption Behaviour who conducted the online survey.

"At the same time, they are receiving more low-quality and duplicate content, this is why the proportion of `zero interaction' social users increased by 7 percentage points to 46%," added Shen.

The Chinese government has tightened control over social media use in recent months. Around 50 websites and social media accounts were shut down in January for inappropriate content including "publishing political news without a permit". Earlier this week, the government announced that, as of 1 March, real names must be used for social media registrations.

Tags: China, social media

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