NEWS | 11 May 2016

Danes are reluctant to participate in political debate on social media

How do Danes engage with and through social media in public political debates? Are Danes becoming participatory content creators or is this a mere ideal of social media use? A preliminary analysis of the data collected in the DECIDIS survey “Social Media and Political Engagement” shows that social media and especially Facebook continues to be a central part of most Danes daily media habits.

That is to say, social media does seem to engage some people in political debate, however, most of the Danes prefer using social media platforms to stay in contact with friends and family, and to receive news. In sum, the survey suggests the following three statements about social media use in Denmark:

  • Social media is widely used in Denmark, however the average age as well as the frequency and type of use differ greatly.
  • Danes use social media primarily to read (“stay in touch” or “be informed”) rather than produce original content or participate in political debates.
  • Overall, young Danes are much more present on social media platforms. Espeically, the generation between 20 and 39 years is using social media for political debate.

A more detailed look at the user numbers shows that Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Denmark: 72,4% older than 15 have a Facebook account and 58% use Facebook at least once a day. The data further shows that Facebook has penetrated all age groups. Almost all young Danes use Facebook (91,2% in the age group 16-19) and still more than half of the over 70 year olds (61,5%) use Facebook. Generally, Facebook is a popular platform for news consumption and staying in contact with friends and family.

A slightly different picture can be seen when looking at Instagram and Snapchat. Young Danes use these two services significantly more than older Danes. While 82,4% of the 16 to 19 year olds use Snapchat, less than 1% of the 70 year olds use the instant messenger. In contrast Twitter is generally much less popular. Fewer people have an account and, of those who do, very few people use it daily. In this sense Twitter is a more public platform and therefore mostly used for public relations.

Download Decidis Rapport 2016 (English)

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