A study shows that many today rely on video-led content and social media influencers for information rather than from traditional news sources. However, more than half also say they are worried about identifying whether information is factual or false. Now Ad Fontes Media is poised to help news consumers filter the information they find on social media platforms.
According to the Reuters Digital News Report (2023) 18- to 24-year-olds, those who have grown up with social media, “pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news.” It is no surprise, then, that we see direct access to news websites or apps becoming less important as individuals choose to access news through social media instead.
As we can see from this graph, Facebook’s dominance over news has decreased 14 points from 2016 (42%) as Facebook has scaled back its relationship with the news industry. Users have shifted to getting their news from platforms such as YouTube, which has increased 4% since 2014; Instagram, which has increased 12%; and TikTok, which has increased 5%.
On YouTube 45% pay attention to personalities for news as opposed to 42% from mainstream news. On Instagram 52% pay attention to personalities for news as opposed to 42% from mainstream news, and on TikTok 55% pay attention to personalities for news as opposed to 36% from mainstream news. All of this demonstrates a shift toward users relying on video-led content and influencers for news updates over traditional news sources.
However, despite the shift to social media for news and information, 56% say they are worried about identifying the difference between real information and fake information. Ad Fontes Media and the Media Bias Chart has become the industry leader in discerning high quality news from low quality news and has helped consumers learn to do so through our media literacy lessons and educational offerings. We can do the same for social media accounts — but we could use your help.
As you come across social media accounts that you believe are good candidates to be rated because of their news and news-like content, we want to know about it. Please submit the account handle, the social media platform and the reason we should rate them on this form. We thank you in advance for helping us continue this important work.
Erin Fox-Ramirez is director of Ratings and Research for Ad Fontes Media, a PhD student in Psychology researching media and conspiracies. She has a MA in Media Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and a BS from Pennsylvania State University. Her previous work includes the DoD, the USPTO, and the RAND Corporation. A native to the Washington D.C. area, she is passionate about improving the news for all and believes strongly in the mission of Ad Fontes. She is a proud aunt, pet parent, and spends her spare time hiking, reading or kayaking in the low country.