Wait, social media publishes fake news?! So where do we go from here?

Wait, social media publishes fake news?! So where do we go from here?

The discussion that we had in class this past week about fake news and the role that it played in the American election got me thinking – where do we get our news from? I realize, despite what my Twitter handle (@oldmanlust) might suggest – I am not that old! Yet I can remember a time when I used to sit down on my desktop computer; login to my AOL dial-up internet connection; open up Netscape Navigator; and  punch in the URL to a news media website, receiving my daily dose of news.

So what’s the point?

Again going back to the discussion in class, maybe we are becoming too lazy to go out of our way we consume our news. Instead of spending time punching in the URL of the Edmonton Journal, Sun, National Post, Globe and Mail, New York Times, etc., we prefer to sit back and let  Facebook or Twitter spoon feed us updates on what is going on in the world.

Who seeks out news anyway?

Research conducted by the PEW Research Center on news consumption across various social media platforms in 2016, seems to support the notion that we are becoming increasingly reliant on social media to feed us news. The majority of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube users who get their news from these platforms read the news on these sites, “when they’re doing other things online”, as opposed to reading this news, “because they’re looking for it.” There is close to an even split between users seeking the news and happening upon it on social media platforms LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit.

pj_2016-05-26_social-media-and-news_0-05
PEW graph breaking down the social media news consumers who seek out news via their platform.

What is the social media platform of the future?

The study further breaks down the demographics of the social media news consumers. The 18-29-year-old demographic seem to gravitate towards Reddit and Instagram. Instagram attracts more female users (65%) with 58% of the users being in the 18-29-year-old demographic. Reddit seems to appeal to male user demographic (71%) with 59% of these users being in the 18-29-year-old range.

pj_2016-05-26_social-media-and-news_a-01
Research conducted by PEW breaking down the demographics of social media news consumers.

Being on the end of this demographic, I was a little surprised at these numbers. Personally, I do not receive my news via these two platforms. In fact, I associate Instagram with stupid memes and Reddit with conspiracy theories – I know there are other subreddits out there. But I started to ask younger people I know where they get their news from and I realized that these numbers might not be too far off.

Undoubtedly, news media will be changing in the immediate future following the election in America. Perhaps it is time to go on Instagram or Reddit to get my world report?

Sources

Demographic Breakdown [Image file]. Retrieved from http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2016/05/PJ_2016.05.26_social-media-and-news_A-01.png

News Featured Image [Image file]. Retrieved from http://pictures.brafton.com/x_0_0_0_14095852_800.jpg

Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2016, May 26). News use across social media platforms 2016. PEW Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Happen Upon News [Image file]. Retrieved from http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2016/05/PJ_2016.05.26_social-media-and-news_0-05.png

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2 thoughts on “Wait, social media publishes fake news?! So where do we go from here?

  1. I always wonder how many households have the news on for a portion of the day. Even just as background noise. I think most times people only turn on the news when they have heard via social media or word of mouth that something that interests them is going to be on the news. Personally, I am never even home enough in the evenings to watch the 6pm news and I constantly catch myself saying “Oh I haven’t heard about that yet” when someone brings something up because I haven’t watched the news all week. So I guess in some ways a lot of people do depend on social media to stay informed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely relate to that! Prior to being a student, I used to make an effort to watch the 6 o’clock news every night — it was a lot easier to do that working a 9-5. Great point of using SM in congruence with traditional methods of news consumption. ie. seeing something on SM and turning on the news or seeking out the full story online. I find myself doing that a lot! But, yes, we are inevitably dependent upon SM to stay informed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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