Americans are skeptical of news on social media - poll

There is one thing that Republicans and Democrats have in common: Facebook. Pew’s survey found that most Americans use Facebook for news.

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October 5, 2019 15:37
1 minute read.
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter and a Facebook logo

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter and a Facebook logo. (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

"Fake news” is a concern for more than half of American adults, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, which showed that 51% of American adults are concerned about inaccurate news being distributed on social media sites.

Currently, 55% of American adults get their news from social media “often or sometimes,” according to Pew. However, they are aware that what they see online may not necessarily be the full picture.

“Almost all Americans – about nine-in-ten (88%) – recognize that social media companies have at least some control over the mix of news people see. And most Americans feel this is a problem,” the Pew researchers wrote.

The majority of adults surveyed said that “social media companies have too much control over the news on their sites” and 55% said that how social media sites distribute the news ultimately makes it worse for viewers.

82% said that they believe social media companies treat some news organizations differently than others. While 79% believe that those with certain political stances are treated differently, political content isn’t the only thing they’re concerned about. Many believe that “attention-grabbing articles” are given preference, as are organizations with more “social media followers.”

The survey also found that more Republicans have negative opinions of the news circulated on social media than Democrats.    In fact, 48% of those surveyed said that the content they see is “liberal or very liberal.”

“Republicans and Republican leaners are more likely to see censorship of the news as a very big problem on social media (43%) than Democrats and Democratic leaners (30%). Democrats, on the other hand, are about twice as likely as Republicans to say that harassment of journalists is a very big problem (36% vs. 17%),” Pew wrote.

There is one thing that Republicans and Democrats have in common: Facebook. Pew’s survey found that most Americans use Facebook for news, followed by YouTube (28%), Twitter (17%) and Instagram (14%).


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