Research: American adults who mainly rely on social media for news are less informed and vulnerable to more conspiracies

A new report by Pew Research seeks to better understand those American adults who mainly get news from social media platforms, and use their knowledge of current affairs and politics with the use of other resources (such as television, radio, and television programs) ) People to compare news publications. According to Pew, the finding at the highest level is that consumers of social media news tend to pay less attention to news, and ultimately have less understanding of several key topics.

This seems to reinforce the belief that many people certainly already hold it—for example, people who get news mainly from Facebook are not that well informed.

However, it is important to understand how Pew Research came to this conclusion and to debate the extent to which it means that there is a problem with the platform. This is

the company first asked people how they get news most often.

About one-fifth (18%) of people said that they mostly use social media to stay up to date. This is similar to the proportion of people who use local TV (16%) or cable TV (16%) for news, but lower than the proportion of people who directly access news websites or applications (25%). Another 13% said they use Internet TV, while only 3% said they read newspapers.

Image source: Pew Research

To be clear, any research that requires users to self-report what they do is not as useful as collecting hard data on actual consumer behavior. In other words, in fact, people who think they get most of their news on TV may underestimate the time they spend on social media, and vice versa.

That is to say, only 8% of media news consumers in this group of "main" social media said they "very closely" follow the main news stories of the 2020 US election, compared with 37 % Of cable TV viewers said the same, and 33% of print users said it. On this topic, social media groups are closer to local TV organizations (11%).

In terms of the coronavirus outbreak, only about a quarter (23%) of major social media news consumers said they were following the news of COVID-19. All other groups also report higher proportions, including those who mainly use cable TV (50%), national network TV (50%), news websites and apps (44%), and local TV (32%) for news. [19659002Inthesurveyrelatedtothisdiscoveryrespondentswerealsoasked29fact-basedquestionsaboutnewstopicsinrecentdaysincludingTrump'simpeachmentandtheCOVID-19outbreakThelowestscoresonthesetopicsarethoseconsumerswhosaytheymainlyusesocialmediatogetnews

Among the 9 questions related to basic political knowledge, only 17% of major social media news consumers obtained "high political knowledge," indicating that they answered 8 to 9 questions correctly. 27% of students obtained "intermediate political knowledge" (6-7 points), while 57% of students obtained "low political knowledge" (5 points or less). The only poor group are those who rely mainly on local TV.

Picture source: Pew Research

45% of people get news from news mainly through websites and apps, and they have "high political knowledge", compared with 42% for radio stations and 42% for print media 41%, cable TV is 35%, and the proportion of Internet TV is 29%.

The social media groups of news consumers are also more susceptible to fringe conspiracies, such as pandemics that are planned in a planned way. Nearly a quarter (26%) of people who get news mainly through social media said they heard a lot of "talking" about this conspiracy, while a considerable number of 81% said they were at least "somewhat". This is significantly higher than all other news platforms and shows how much conspiracy can be spread on social media.

Image source: Pew Research

However, the same social media team reported that their conspiracy paid less attention to the impact of fake news. For example, only about four-tenths (37%) of people said that they are “very worried” about the impact of fake news on the 2020 elections. Except for local TV viewers (35%), other news is lower than other newsgroups. Cable TV viewers paid the most attention, at 58%.

What is more worrying is that these conspiracies must shake people's minds. Among those social media news consumers who are aware of the COVID-19 conspiracy, 44% of consumers who regularly use social media to obtain COVID-19 news say that this theory is at least “probably correct.” Only 33% of people who rely less on social media for COVID-19 news said the same.

Image source: Pew Research

This research continues to compare social media news consumers’ knowledge on other topics, such as the impact of COVID-19 and related health news, as well as using similar methods from others The person who gets the news from the source.

Image source: Pew Research

Pew's conclusion from his research is that social media users have less information and seem to be quite accurate on these specific topics. However, this implies (or at least some people may be deleted from this report) that they have less information because they rely on social media as their main news source. Given these data, it is not necessarily correct.

One problem with the conclusion is related to the demographics of social media. The company's research also found that consumers of social media news are biased towards young people-for example, 48% of the majority of people who use social media news are between 18 and 29. Their formal education levels are also often low, because only 26% of people have a college degree, while 47% of people who read news websites or 49% of people who switch to printing. (Of course, part of the reason for this lack of higher education may be that social media users tend to favor young people.)

Image source: Pew Research

Historically, we know that young people are not the same as older people. Level of political participation. They were less in number during the election period. They may be less involved in local political activities because they have to relocate to university or find a new job; because they have not developed the habit of voting and often miss registration deadlines. They may have a low level of citizenship education at the beginning, but they have not filled the gap like the elderly. Many people also feel alienated from politics. So on and so forth.

On other topics, young people may feel similarly alienated and disconnected. Many young people are not concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, for example, thinking that it will only affect the elderly and continue as usual.

Their lack of understanding of news may not be due to the platform on which it is consumed. , But their interest in and participation in the subject is widespread.

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