The Role of Social Media in Providing the News

23% of the public say that social media “play a catalytic role in keeping me informed”, but 22% say they “play no role at all”. One in two respondents say that social media “is an alternative source of news”.

However, one in two of those who say that social media play a role in keeping them informed, when asked where the news content they read on the platforms mainly comes from, state “from journalists and/or media outlets that I follow on social media”. “From people I connect with on social media” answer 21%, while 20% respond “from random users whose news appear on my timeline”.

When participants are asked if they have ever read/heard a news story and then found out that it was fake, 57% say it happens very or fairly often on social media and 31% say it happens “rarely” or “never”. The picture is reversed when the same question is asked about the so-called “traditional” media: 57.5% say that it rarely or never happens to hear/read a news story and then find out that it was fake, while 38.5% say it happens very or fairly often.