Facebook most linked with cyberbullying through lens of Irish media

5 Apr 2013

Analysis of media reportage of cyberbullying in the aftermath of the tragic suicides of a number of teenagers and a senior politician earlier this year in Ireland found that Facebook was most likely to be linked with cyberbullying in the Irish media.

The analysis by media intelligence agency Newsaccess Media found that Facebook featured in almost 46pc of all press relating to social media and cyberbullying during a 20-day evaluation period.

Twitter was the second most likely social media channel to be mentioned in connection with cyberbullying and was referenced in 33pc of all related press coverage.

A total of 286 articles relating to cyberbullying were published by Irish newspapers over the 20-day period.

According to Newsaccess, this would be regarded as a very high volume of press coverage for any one topic and reflects the grave concerns held by media about cyberbullying.

Newsaccess Media is a media-monitoring firm launched in 2007 that employs 30 people and focuses on media monitoring of newspaper, online, broadcast and social media commentary for leading brands and political parties.

When asked if Irish media were trying to scapegoat Facebook for incidents of cyberbullying, Newsaccess Media’s Brian McCarthy said he did not think that was the case and that if anything Irish media’s coverage of the situation was responsible. A significant proportion of the coverage drew attention to other emerging platforms for cyberbullying, such as Ask.fm and Snapchat.

“We found also that in one-third of the articles the journalists referenced resources for support, such as charity Aware, and in second place the Samaritans, and provided insight into where people who were victims of cyberbullying could go for help.”

The focus on the issue of cyberbullying had reached such an intense level, McCarthy said, that the numbers of articles generated are comparable with reportage on the horsemeat scandal in Ireland.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years