Thursday 13 August 2020 4:26 pm

Social media news consumption drops as trust declines

The number of people accessing news through social media has fallen in the last year as trust in online platforms has slipped, new figures have revealed.

The proportion of Brits using social media sites to stay up to date with the latest stories slipped to 45 per cent in 2020, down from 49 per cent last year, according to media watchdog Ofcom.

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It came as social media users reported lower levels of satisfaction with the platforms, rating them lower on measures including trust, impartiality and accuracy.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users also said they were less inclined to share or retweet trending articles and videos than they were in 2019.

Social media firms have come under fierce criticism during the coronavirus crisis amid accusations they were not doing enough to crack down on misinformation posted to their platforms.

Overall, TV remains the most popular platform for accessing news, winning 75 per cent of the vote. This was followed by the internet with 65 per cent, while radio came in third at 42 per cent.

More than a third of UK adults get their news from print newspapers, though this rises to 47 per cent when newspaper websites and apps are taken into account.

The figures, which do not cover news consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown, highlight the enduring popularity of traditional media even amid a steady decline in reader and viewer numbers.

Separate Ofcom research shows traditional media use was even higher during the pandemic, with 87 per cent of adults naming broadcast, newspaper and radio as their go-to sources of news and information about coronavirus in the latest survey.

While BBC One remains the most popular news source overall, the figures show its popularity has decreased over the last year.

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The proportion of adults using BBC channels has slipped from 85 per cent to 83 per cent in the last year. Meanwhile, commercial rival Sky has increased its usage from 30 per cent to 33 per cent.

It comes during a turbulent period for the public service broadcaster, which is facing political pressure over its funding model, accusations of impartiality and a black hole in its finances due to Covid-19.

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