Social Media Monitoring Apps in News Work: A Mixed-Methods Study of Professional Practices and Journalists’ and Citizens’ Opinions

30 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2023

See all articles by Neil Thurman

Neil Thurman

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; City University London

Thiemo Hensmann

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Date Written: March 19, 2023

Abstract

Social media plays an important role for journalists, as a source of breaking news and a way of monitoring trends and sentiment. To help journalists find and filter newsworthy social media content, a number of sophisticated apps have been developed, some by social media platforms themselves and others by third parties. This article explores the use of such apps by UK journalists and the opinions of social media users who are surveilled by them. The results reveal that, as of 2018, a third of UK journalists use social media monitoring apps, and that some of these journalists believe these apps have pushed them to increase their reporting of social media trends. Journalists appreciate the speed with which such apps can alert them to newsworthy information but are skeptical about the claim that verification can be automated. Citizens raise concerns about social media surveillance, especially, but not exclusively, that occurring in the journalism context.

Keywords: computational journalism, news sourcing, newsworthiness, privacy, social media in news work, social media monitoring, surveillance, verification

Suggested Citation

Thurman, Neil J. and Hensmann, Thiemo, Social Media Monitoring Apps in News Work: A Mixed-Methods Study of Professional Practices and Journalists’ and Citizens’ Opinions (March 19, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4393018 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4393018

Neil J. Thurman (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich ( email )

Oettingenstr. 67
Munich, 80538
Germany

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

Thiemo Hensmann

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

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