WASHINGTON, Sept 10 — Two-thirds of American adults get at least some of their news from social media, even though many are sceptical about the accuracy of that information, a survey showed today.
The Pew Research Centre report found 68 per cent said they used social networks for news, with 20 per cent saying they got information “often” from those services including Facebook and Twitter.
The percentages were largely unchanged from a year ago despite heightened scrutiny over misinformation and manipulation of online platforms, including by foreign actors.
More than half of those surveyed — 57 per cent — said they expect the news they see on social media to be “largely inaccurate,” according to Pew.
Still, most respondents said getting news this way has made little difference in their understanding of current events — 36 per cent said it helped their understanding of current events while 15 per cent said it made them “more confused.”
The survey comes with social networks under intense scrutiny as they become more important “gatekeepers” of news, with President Donald Trump and his allies recently accusing tech firms of political bias.
In the Pew survey, only 11 per cent of respondents said news on social media was “too biased” while 10 per cent said the information was “low quality.”
Concerns about accuracy were more prevalent among Republicans, with 72 per cent expressing this concern, compared with 46 per cent of Democrats and 52 per cent of independents.
An estimated 67 per cent of Facebook’s users get news there, as do 71 per cent of Twitter users and 73 per cent of Reddit users. But because Facebook’s overall user base is much larger, far more Americans overall get news on Facebook than on other sites.
Smaller percentages get news from other online platforms such as YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and WhatsApp, according to the report.
Pew surveyed 4,581 US adults between July 30 and August 12, with an estimated margin of error for the full sample of 2.5 percentage points. — AFP