Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have made consuming news very simple, very easy, and very fast. Unfortunately, the resulting overabundance of information can also make it harder to discern good reporting from outright falsehoods. And so you get the “fake news” situation that’s rocked Facebook in recent months.
As this chart from Statista shows, the uncertainty that comes with social media’s information overload has made the general public more cautious. A survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for a recent BuzzFeed News report said that most American adults trust news they’ve read from social networks in the last month less than stories they’ve read from traditional news sources like newspapers and broadcast TV – by a significant margin. That’s despite 55% of the 1,007 respondents saying they’ve consumed news from Facebook over that time, making it the second-most popular source, only 1% behind broadcast TV.
As BuzzFeed notes, the survey isn’t bulletproof: Facebook and Twitter are news-sharing platforms, not singular news brands, so there’s more opportunity for users to come across outlets they dislike. And just because someone trusts a news source doesn’t mean its stories are correct. But it can be seen as another sign of how messy the digital media landscape is today.