Americans relying increasingly on social media for news
A recent survey shows an increasing number of Americans replying on social media for news – yet they are not happy about how much control such platforms have on the information that they consume. Pew Research Center published a report Oct. 2 that revealed that 55% of US adults get their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes.” That is a 9 percent increase from 2018 and marks the first time that a majority of adults surveyed by Pew said social media played a sizable role in their news habits.
Additionally, Facebook’s news feed algorithms, and the various programs that platforms like Twitter and YouTube use to rank certain content over others, is causing suspicion among readers. More than 62 percent of respondents said that social networks have too much control over the news that people see, and 55 percent felt that efforts by social media to rank certain news is producing a “worse mix” of news.
Untruths and misinformation also continue to be a serious “hazard” when it comes to news consumption on social networks. Over 80% of respondents said that inaccurate news was at least a “moderately big problem” when consuming news on social media.
“Americans are increasingly likely to get news from social media sites, even as large percentages of Pew respondents say they’re wary about whether that news is biased or sensationalized,” Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights says. “This is a recipe for voter cynicism and intensified political polarization.”
Despite these misgivings, platforms are not shying away from partnering with news outlets. For example, Facebook is planning on launching a new separate news section of its app in late October. So, users may be seeing more news on social media whether they like it or not.