Who do you trust for the news?
The rise of social media in the UK has been well documented and it’s currently estimated that there are 32 million Facebook users in the UK (the nation’s favourite platform by some way). Part of this meteoric rise has been a result of its ability to deliver breaking news stories threaded in-between the usual news feed content. In fact, a 2017 YouGov survey indicated that 47% of the UK use Facebook for news. This should be treated with caution however. Recent political events and other major news stories have seen the equally meteoric rise of the term ‘fake news’. A favoured phrase of POTUS, it’s already been used over two million times on Twitter in 2018 (not just by Trump) and its prevalence amongst the UK lexicon shows no signs of slowing. With fake news and social media entwined in one another, over half of UK users are worried about being exposed to fake news. Further to this, our own findings from the QT found that 71% believe social media sites should do more to control the spread of fake news.
Interestingly, it’s younger users that are most sceptical of the news they’re exposed to on social networks, with the QT finding that half 18-24-year-olds now check multiple sources. This heightened concern amongst UK users, coupled with an increased scrutiny in the way social media brands behave as companies, has seen trust in social media decline for a third year in a row with under a quarter trusting it as a source of general news and information. This is according to the latest release of Edelman’s Trust Barometer, that cites social media as the least trusted source of general news and information amongst media outlets in the UK. Conversely, trust in traditional media has risen from 48% to 61% to reclaim top spot as the UK’s most trusted news source.
Once billed as the end of traditional news brands, social media’s current inability to tackle the fake news phenomenon is taking its toll and Facebook’s recent announcement that it is moving news feed focus from publisher/ brand posts back to content shared and commented on by family and friends suggests traditional news media’s doomsday is taking a rain-check.