Govt White Paper: Only 38% Aware of Social Media Biases

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in 2021

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Only 38.1% of people in Japan are aware that opinions and information close to their own thoughts tend to be displayed on social media, a government annual report said Tuesday.

The number is far lower than in the United States, Germany and China, where it exceeds 70%, said the 2023 white paper on information and communications released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

Social media service providers use recommendation functions to display information deemed likely to interest users on their smartphones more often than other information.

Continued exposure to similar opinions and information could entrench biases and cause social division, according to the white paper.

“To realize a healthy information space, more efforts need to be made by the various parties concerned,” the report said. “It is also necessary to improve the literacy of users of such services.”