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Most American Adults Get News From Facebook. But They Don't Really Trust It
3 days ago
A majority of American adults say they consumed news on Facebook in the past month — but they are deeply skeptical about the trustworthiness of information on that platform, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News.
The online survey of 1,007 American adults found roughly the same percentage of American adults said they consumed news in the past the month on Facebook (55%) as on broadcast TV (56%). Those were by far the most popular sources of news, followed by print newspapers (39%), cable news (38%), “social media (generally)” (33%), and newspapers’ websites (33%).
But a significant gap emerged when people were asked how much they trust the news they get from these sources. Broadcast TV once again scored the highest, with 59% of respondents saying they trust news from that source all or most of the time.
In contrast, only 18% of respondents trust news on Facebook all or most of the time — and 44% said they rarely or almost never trust news on Facebook. (Another 30% said “about half of the time,” and 8% said “don’t know.”) When looking only at respondents who said they had consumed news on Facebook, 27% trusted the information all or most of the time, according to BuzzFeed News’ analysis of the data.
By that metric, Facebook and “Social media (generally)” had the lowest trust score of any platform as judged by people who said they had gotten news there. (By contrast, 49% of people who had gotten news from Twitter, and 74% of those who’d gotten news from print newspapers, said they trusted news from those platforms all or most of the time.)
Simply put, a majority of Americans are now getting news from a place they say they don’t fully trust.
The study raises, but does not answer, additional questions: Do Americans see Facebook as a news source in its own right? Or do the low trust scores reflect the reality that news on Facebook comes from a variety of sources and publishers with different credibility and standards? A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the survey, and the company has not published any research it might have done on perceptions of trust on the platform.
Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, said one reason for the Facebook trust gap could be that it offers news from different sources, rather then being a single publisher with its own brand.
“With television, print, and even online sources we choose our outle
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Date published: 2015-06-08