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Dhaka Tribune

Report: Facebook’s importance as news source sees significant decline

Influencers and celebrities are increasingly taking over from journalists as the main source of news for youths across almost all social media platforms, the study says

Update : 15 Jun 2023, 07:21 PM

A new report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggests that Facebook is becoming significantly less important as a source of news.

The report launched on Wednesday, titled “Digital News Report 2023,” found that only 28% of people surveyed accessed news through Facebook in 2023, compared to 42% in 2016. 

The figures were based on interviews with some 94,000 people across 46 countries, conducted for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, part of Britain's University of Oxford.

“Facebook remains one of the most-used social networks overall, but its influence on journalism is declining as it shifts its focus away from news,” Lead author Nic Newman said in a press release.

Newman highlighted that Facebook now faces new challenges from established networks such as YouTube and vibrant youth-focused networks such as TikTok.

“The Chinese-owned social network reaches 44% of 18–24s across markets and 20% for news. It is growing fastest in parts of Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America,” he said.

Meanwhile, the report found that influencers and celebrities are increasingly taking over from journalists as the main source of news for young people across almost all social media platforms except for Twitter and Facebook.

According to the report, 55% of TikTok and Snapchat users, and 52% of Instagram users get their news from "personalities" — compared to 33% of Tiktok, 36% of Snapchat and 42% of Instagram users who get it from mainstream media and journalists on those platforms, which are most popular among the young.

“We find that, while mainstream journalists often lead conversations around news on Twitter and Facebook, they struggle to get attention in newer networks like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, where personalities, influencers and ordinary people are often more prominent, even when it comes to conversations around news,” Newman said.

Trust and interest in news

Among other indicators, the news industry has seen a sharp decline in terms of trust and interest.

According to the report, trust in the news has fallen across markets by further two percentage points in the last year, reversing in many countries the gains made at the height of the pandemic.

“On average, 40% of our sample say they trust most news most of the time,” the lead author of the report said.

Meanwhile, around 36% of the interviewees said they actively avoided the news sometimes or often, seven points above the figure in 2017 but two points lower than last year.

In interviews, many said that news stories are too repetitive or too “emotionally draining.”

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