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Titel / Title Social media usage of asylum seekers in Germany.
Author / Autor

Scheibe, K., Zimmer, F., & Stock, W. G.


Source / Quelle


Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Social Media. University of Brighton, UK, 13-14 June 2019 (pp. 263-272). Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International.
Language / Sprache English / Englisch


Abstract: Topic of our research is the information and communication behaviour of asylum seekers who illegally migrated from the Middle East to Germany. Primarily we are focusing on their use of social media and messaging services. We selected the Middle East region, because at the present time people from those countries are the main migrant groups in Germany. Goal of the research project is to understand the asylum applicants’ needs on information, self-presentation, social interaction, and entertainment via social media and messaging services. The study’s theoretical foundation is the Uses and Gratifications Theory. We applied a combined quantitative and qualitative approach. We interviewed 19 persons mainly from Syria and Afghanistan face-to-face with the help of a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview guide. The asylum seekers’ self-estimation of their digital literacy varies between the mediocre (3) and very high (5) level. All 19 interviewees use smartphones and the internet, 18 persons watch TV. In order to give or to receive information via social media and messaging services, nearly all interviewees apply Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube. For entertainment, they mainly use YouTube and Facebook. When it comes to social interaction, all persons utilise WhatsApp, some additionally Facebook. Only 15 out of 19 interviewed persons work with social media for purposes of self-presentation; they mostly apply Facebook, but also to a minor extend WhatsApp (Status) and Instagram. Asylum seekers in Germany clearly make use of social media, most notably of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube. Further social media as, for instance, social live streaming services or news aggregators are virtually unknown. It would be an interesting aspect of the migrants’ instruction to deepen the knowledge on the functionality of a broad range of social media as well as on the services’ strengths and weaknesses as well as on the risk to use them.

Keywords: Social Media, Information Behaviour, Migrants, Asylum Applicants, Middle East Countries, Germany