The research was carried out at the commission of Civil Network OPORA during the period from May 11 to June 12, 2023. A total of 2,013 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) were interviewed with the use of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on random sampling of mobile numbers (random phone number generation followed by statistical weighting). The survey was conducted among adult citizens of Ukraine (aged 18 and older) who, at the time of survey study, had been residing in the areas under the control of official authorities of Ukraine up until February 24, 2022. The survey sample doesn’t include the residents of temporarily occupied territories that weren’t under the control of official authorities of Ukraine before February 24, 2022 (the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), as well as those who went abroad after February 24, 2022. The stage of field studies lasted from May 26 to June 5, 2023.
The margin of error (with a confidence probability of 0.95 taking into account the design effect of 1.1) doesn’t exceed: 2.4% for indicator values close to 50%, 2.1% – for indicator values close to 25%, 1.5 % – for indicator values close to 10%.
Civil society of Ukraine has been actively following the news for the second year in a row. Consumption of information about air alerts and Russian shelling, latest developments on the frontline and in politics has become an integral part of everyday life of many Ukrainians.
However, not only the news consumption habits but also the features of media space itself have undergone significant changes over the past few years Ukraine is going through an active phase of information warfare, which is manifested in the conduct of large-scale psychological operations and disinformation campaigns, and the widespread use of automated accounts to influence public opinion. Ukrainian authorities are trying to promptly respond to these challenges, but at the same time they are resorting to monopolization of media space, which undermines public confidence and arouses mistrust among the members of civil society.
In view of the aforesaid, it is critically important to get an understanding of the specifics of media consumption habits assumed by different groups of civil society of Ukraine. Indeed, any measures aimed at disseminating reliable news from official sources and counteracting disinformation will prove ineffective, if they are not implemented on the platforms actively used by civil society for media consumption purposes. Therefore, we take this opportunity to present the results of a research study of media consumption habits of Ukrainian citizens in the second year of full-scale war. This research was carried out at the request of Civil Network OPORA.
Where do Ukrainians get their information from?
Social media platforms continue to enjoy the greatest popularity among Ukrainians: 77.9% of respondents use them as a source of information. Television ranks second in terms of popularity (62.5%), Internet resources (excluding social media) rank third (57.7%). Radio (33.7%) and print media (17.8%) have become somewhat more popular compared to the previous year.
The general trends in media consumption are almost the same as last year. Social media platforms serve as the main source of information for both women (76.2%) and men (80%). Television is the second most popular choice among women (66.3%), while Internet resources (excluding social media) rank second in terms of popularity among men (61.1%). Radio is more popular with men (37.9%) rather than women (30.2%). Just like last year, print media remain the least popular choice for both women and men when it comes to consuming the news.
The most noticeable changes in news consumption habits of Ukrainians can be observed when we break them down by age. Compared to last year, a slightly larger portion of young people (aged 18–29) are receiving the news from social media (increase in popularity from 92.2% to 95.8%), Internet resources (increase from 64.3% to 73.8%) and radio (increase from 20.7% to 23.6%). On the other hand, television has become much less popular with the young audience: in 2023, only 43% of young respondents have been following the news on TV compared to 51% in 2022. By contrast, the respondents aged 30–39 are making less active use of social media (decrease in popularity from 92.1 % to 90.3%), Internet resources (decrease from 74.2% to 64.2%) and television (decrease from 62.6% to 50.8%) for news consumption purposes. On the other hand, representatives of this age group have begun to listen to the radio more frequently (increase in popularity from 25.9% to 34.6%). Changes in media consumption habits of 40–49 and 50–59 age groups are less visible. In particular, the respondents aged 40–49 are making more active use of social media (increase in popularity from 83.5% to 87%), radio (increase from 23.5% to 29.1%) and print media (increase from 8.1% to 16.8%) ). As for the respondents aged 50–59, radio has become a more popular source of news (increase from 27.3% to 32.5%), while the intensity of use of Internet resources other than social media has decreased (from 63.7% to 58.7%). The respondents aged 60-69 are making more active use of social media (increase in popularity from 64.8% to 66.6%) and radio (increase from 36.9% to 40.7%) to receive the news. On the other hand, the respondents aged 70+ have become more reluctant to learn the news from Internet resources other than social media (decrease in popularity from 32.1% to 22.5%), but they are making more active use of social media platforms (increase in popularity from 34.1% to 36.5%), radio (increase from 39.9% to 43.6%) and print media (increase from 26.1% to 31.3%).
There are some differences in media consumption habits of Ukrainians living in urban and rural areas. Social media platforms enjoy the greatest popularity with both urban and rural residents. Almost the same number of urban residents receive the news from television and Internet resources other than social media (60.6% and 60.5% correspondingly). On the other hand, television enjoys 14.5% higher rate of popularity with rural residents compared to Internet resources. Radio and print media are also slightly more popular with villagers rather than urbanites (37.2% vs. 31.9% in the case of radio, 26.4% vs. 13.4% in the case of print media).
Media consumption habits also differ from one macro-region of Ukraine to another. The popularity ratings of social media and Internet resources are almost the same in all regions. Radio and print media are more popular with residents of Western Ukraine (40% and 24.1% correspondingly). TV viewership is somewhat larger in Western (65.6%) and Central Ukraine (64.9%) as compared to Southern (57.9%) and Eastern Ukraine (58.4%). Television enjoys almost the same rate of popularity as the Internet resources (excluding social media) in Eastern and Southern Ukraine by contrast to other macro-regions.
Confidence in sources of information
In 2023, social media almost caught up with television in terms of credibility. Television still enjoys the highest level of confidence among the respondents (61.1%), while social media trail by a narrow margin of 1.1%. Internet resources (excluding social media) have lost some credibility with the respondents compared to last year: 45.1% in 2023 vs. 49% in 2022. A slightly smaller number of Ukrainians have confidence in radio (41%) and print media (30.3%), although the level of trust in these media platforms has increased in comparison to last year. Almost 8% of respondents don’t trust any sources of information.
Men differ from women in level of trust that they put in various sources of information. In particular, social media enjoy the highest level of trust among men (59%), while women have more confidence in television (63.8%). Internet resources other than social media rank third in terms of credibility with both female and male respondents (43.9% and 46.5% correspondingly), while the least trustworthy news sources are radio stations (39.1% and 43.3%) and print media (31.3% and 29.2%). 8.8% of men and 6.7% of women don’t trust any sources of information.
Social media and print media have gained the confidence of all age groups over the past year. In particular, the largest increase in the level of trust in social media as a source of information was observed in 18–29 age group (from 67.45% to 76.1%) and 30–39 age group (from 63.8% to 71.8%). The largest increase in the level of confidence in print media was observed in 40–49 age group (from 15.8% to 30.1%) and 18–29 age group (from 24.4% to 36.1%). All age groups have begun to put more trust in radio stations, except for some of the older respondents (aged 70+) who have lost confidence in this source of information (decrease from 44.8% to 40.1%). At the same time, the largest increase in the level of confidence in radio stations was observed in 40-49 age group (from 28% to 42.2%) and 60-69 age group (from 32.3% to 42.7%). Television has lost some credibility with 30-39 age group (decrease from 57.2% to 53.4%) and 70+ age group (decrease from 80% to 72.2%). By contrast, all other age groups have begun to put more trust in television: this is especially true of young people aged 18–29 (increase from 48.1% to 52.7%) and the respondents aged 40–49 (increase from 52.6% to 58.1 %). On the other hand, Internet resources other than social media have lost some credibility with all age groups, except for the respondents aged 60–69 (level of confidence increased from 38.6% to 40.5%). The most noticeable decrease in the level of trust in Internet resources was observed in 70+ age group (from 31.7% to 19.4%) and 40-49 age group (from 56.5% to 51.3%). Furthermore, our analysts noted that the percentage of respondents who don’t trust any sources of information has increased across all age groups. The most noticeable increase in the level of distrust was observed in 70+ age group (from 2.3% to 9.4%) and 60-69 age group (from 5% to 8.2%).
There is also a distinct difference between urban and rural residents in terms of the level of trust that they put in various sources of information. In particular, television enjoys the highest level of confidence among the residents of rural areas (64.9%), while social media are the most trustworthy news sources in urban areas (63.4%). Internet resources other than social media rank third in terms of credibility with both urban and rural residents. The proportion of urbanites who give the Internet a vote of confidence is 10% larger than that of villagers (48.5% and 38.4% correspondingly).
Region-wise, social media platforms are the most trustworthy news sources in Eastern and Southern Ukraine (61.9% and 60.7% correspondingly). Meanwhile, television ranks first in terms of credibility with the residents of Central and Western Ukraine (61.8% and 65.1% correspondingly). Furthermore, the residents of Central and Eastern Ukraine put more trust in Internet resources other than social media (49.2% and 46.8% correspondingly) compared to those residing in Western and Southern Ukraine (42% and 41.7% correspondingly). Radio and print media enjoy the highest level of trust among the residents of Western Ukraine (47.1% and 37.6% correspondingly). The largest proportion of respondents that don’t trust any sources of information was observed in Southern Ukraine (10.4%), and the smallest proportion – in Central Ukraine (6.4%).
What social media do Ukrainians use?
The list of the most popular social media platforms hasn’t changed since last year: the majority of Ukrainians continue using Telegram (71.3%), YouTube (66.2%) and Facebook (55%). Furthermore, 50% of respondents consume news content on Viber, 29.5% – on Instagram, 25.1% – on TikTok, 8.3% – on Twitter.
The most noticeable difference between men and women is their choice of preferred social media. In particular, YouTube enjoys the highest rate of popularity among men (73.2%), while Telegram is the number one choice for women (76.1%). At the same time, Telegram ranks second in terms of popularity among men (65.7%), while Facebook is the second most popular social network among women (61%). Facebook ranks third in terms of popularity among men (48.2%), while YouTube is the third most popular social media platform among women (60.1%). Furthermore, Viber is more popular with women rather than men (57.6% vs. 41.2% correspondingly). A larger number of women prefer to use Instagram (35.5%) and TikTok (28%) as compared to men (22.6% and 21.8% correspondingly). From a gender perspective, the current trends in social media preferences are the same as last year.
The respondents give preference to different social media platforms, depending on their age. In particular, Telegram (89.9%), YouTube (64.5%) and Instagram (46.1%) remain the most popular platforms among young people (18–29 years old), while Facebook (34.1%) and Viber (27.7%) have lost some of their popularity with the youth in the past year. On the other hand, the respondents aged 30-39 prefer to use Telegram (75.6%), YouTube (61.1%) and Facebook (59.1%), although the latter has lost almost 5% of its audience that comes from this age group in the past year. Telegram (70.9%), YouTube (65.6%) and Facebook (64%) still have a strong lead in terms of popularity with 40-49 age group, but Viber (54.2%) is catching up fast with the leading trio. The respondents aged 50-59 prefer to follow the news on Telegram (70%), YouTube (69.3%), Facebook (59.6%) and Viber (59.5%). At the same time, YouTube (71.3%), Viber (68%) and Facebook (62.4%) have become the most popular social media among the respondents aged 60-69, while Telegram (53.5%) only ranks fourth in terms of popularity with this age group. YouTube (72.7%) and Viber (58.3%) enjoy the highest rate of popularity among the older respondents (aged 70+), while the proportion of older respondents that learn the news from other social media doesn’t exceed 40%. It is worth noting that TikTok has achieved the largest audience gains over the past year, although this social media platform is not the top choice for any age group. In particular, the proportion of TikTok users among the respondents aged 70+ has increased from 12.2% to 21.1%, and among the respondents aged 40-49 – from 17.9% to 26.5%.
There are also some differences between rural and urban residents in terms of social media preferences. Telegram (62.2%) and YouTube (61.9%) are almost equally popular in rural areas, while the gap in popularity ratings of these two platforms in urban settlements is slightly larger (75.5% and 68.1% correspondingly). In general, Telegram and YouTube are more popular with urban rather than rural residents. The proportion of urbanites that use TikTok is somewhat smaller than that of villagers (23.2% vs. 29.2%), while Instagram (30.3% vs. 27.8%) and Twitter (9.9% vs. 4.7%) dominate in urban areas.
Region-wise, Telegram is less actively used less by residents of Western and Central Ukraine (64.3% and 70.2% correspondingly) compared to those residing in Eastern and Southern Ukraine (79.3% and 76.2% correspondingly). By contrast, Facebook enjoys higher rate of popularity in Western (58.1%) and Central Ukraine (57.9%), while only 50% of respondents use this social media platform in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The popularity of Tiktok also differs from one macro-region of Ukraine to another: the residents of Western (27.6%) and Southern Ukraine (27.1%) make more active use of this social network compared to those living in Central (23.3%) and Eastern macro-region (21.1%). Viber and Instagram have the largest audience in Western Ukraine (53.2% and 33% correspondingly). Meanwhile, Twitter is more popular in Central (10.8%) rather than Eastern macro-region (4.3%).