A recent report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has revealed social media in general, and Facebook in particular, is losing ground as a source for news as more people lose trust in social media for hard news.
According to a survey of 74,000 people across 37 countries, the use of social media for news has fallen to 45% in the last year on average, with the change almost entirely due to Facebook losing credibility as a news source.
The US has shown the most marked decline, with only 39% of people stating that they used social media platforms to get news, a drop of 9% from last year, which in itself had already declined from the previous year.
Multiple Factors Drive Decline
According to a research associate at the Institute, this has partly been caused in a change of strategy by publishers seeking to reduce their dependence on Facebook, partly by Facebooks own reduction in the reach of news publishers, and partly by the still on-going issue of “fake news” which has led to a marked reduction in people’s trust of social media, “especially in areas where social media news use has lead to polarised political situations.”
Some Platforms Prosper
Despite this, both Instagram and WhatsApp have retained strong positions as social sources of news, but whether this trend will continue or not remains to be seen.