News at the time of crisis: Comparing desktop- and mobile-based browsing behaviour during COVID-19 pandemic

Makhortykh, Mykola; Adam, Silke; Maier, Michaela; Urman, Aleksandra; Lopez, Teresa Gil; Christner, Clara; de León, Ernesto (9 April 2021). News at the time of crisis: Comparing desktop- and mobile-based browsing behaviour during COVID-19 pandemic (Unpublished). In: Dreiländertagung für Kommunikationswissenschaft (DACH 21). Online. 07.04.-09.04.2021.

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The use of mobile devices constitutes an integral component of today’s high-choice media environment. Yet, mobile-based information behaviour and its differences compared with the desktop-based one currently remains understudied, primarily because of the difficulties of collecting data on mobile usage that leads to the limited number of studies that go beyond self-reported usage. Yet, the limitations of self-reported data on information behaviour are increasingly recognized that prompts the need for more resilient alternatives, in particular at the time of the current COVID-19 crisis when the understanding of user information diets is of utmost importance for individual and collective well-being. In our paper, we introduce such an alternative using a combination of automated tracking (for desktop devices) and browser history extraction (for mobile devices). We apply this approach to analyze the browsing behaviour of a panel of German-speaking Swiss internet users and compare cross-device differences in the information consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. Specifically, we investigate how user interactions from different types of information sources (e.g., legacy media and social media) vary across different devices and how these differences are influenced by sociodemographic factors (e.g., age, education level, and income).

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Communication and Media Studies (ICMB)

UniBE Contributor:

Makhortykh, Mykola, Adam, Silke, Urman, Aleksandra, de León Williams, Ernesto Emiliano


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Beatrice Romann

Date Deposited:

05 May 2021 15:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:50


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