Reuters Institute surveyed more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about where they get their news online. What they found is that social media is quickly falling out of favor for news consumption after years of continuous growth.
“For the last seven years we have tracked the key sources for news across major countries and have reported a picture of relentless growth in the use of social media for news. Now, in many countries, growth has stopped or gone into reverse.” – Reuters Institute Survey
In the United States, 39% claim they use Facebook as a news source. That’s down 9 percentage points from just last year. The decline is even steeper for young adults where the number dropped to just 20%.
The report attributes the changes due to social media habits.
Just a few of the key findings:
Almost all of this is due to a specific decline in the discovery, posting, and sharing of news in Facebook.
- Across all countries, the average level of trust in the news in general remains relatively stable at 44%, with just over half (51%) agreeing that they trust the news media they themselves use most of the time.
- By contrast, 34% of respondents say they trust news they find via search and fewer than a quarter (23%) say they trust the news they find in social media.
- Television remains a critical source of news for many – but declines in annual audience continue to raise new questions about the future role of public broadcasters and their ability to attract the next generation of viewers.
- Consumers remain reluctant to view news video within publisher websites and apps. Over half of consumption happens in third-party environments like Facebook and YouTube. Americans and Europeans would like to see fewer online news videos; Asians tend to want more.
Who Do Your Trust?
44% say they trust news in general. 51% trust the sources they use. That’s a bold statement that barely more than half the people trust the sources they use!
When it comes to who is most trusted, the report finds that brands with a broadcasting background and long heritage tend to be trusted most, with popular newspapers and digital-born brands trusted least.
Who is responsible for being the gatekeepers to fix the fake news concerns?
“Most respondents believe that publishers (75%) and platforms (71%) have the biggest responsibility to fix problems of fake and unreliable news,” the report says.
Read the entire report here.
Charts and graphics courtesy Reuters Institute