US readers confuse Facebook for a news outlet

Facebook is being increasingly viewed by U.S. citizens as a news outlet in its own right, according to a survey published this week.

The social media site claims to have 1.8 billion global users and is heavily relied on by media organizations as a platform for reaching a wider readership.

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But a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center suggests as many as 10 percent of people think of Facebook as a news outlet that produces the stories published on the site.

Facebook doesn’t produce any news stories hosted on its own site, but was high on the list of companies named when respondents were asked to recall a story’s source.

“CNN was named at least once over the week by 14% of those who followed links to articles, similar to the 12% who named Fox News and the 10% who named Facebook,” the report read.

An additional seven sources were named by at least 3% to 6% of those who clicked on links: The New York Times, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, Yahoo, ESPN, The Washington Post and CBS.

The survey found that respondents were more often than not able to associate a story with a particular news source.

“If they had followed a link, individuals were asked to name the specific news outlet(s) they were taken to. On average, online news consumers named a source 56% of the time,” reads the report.

The Pew center survey also concluded that those who clicked on links more regularly would be most likely to recall the source of the story.

“Those who followed news links three or more times throughout the week remembered the source about two-thirds (64%) of the time, compared with 48% for those who followed a link only one or two times throughout the week,” the report read.

The online survey of 2,078 people took place over a week long period from February 24th to March 1 2016.

Media trust issues

A separate survey, published by the Edelman marketing group in January, claimed trust in media had fallen to all-time lows in 17 different countries.

The report offered a link between using social media platforms as a primary source for finding news and the hardening of personal opinions.

“The cycle of distrust is magnified by the emergence of a media echo chamber that reinforces personal beliefs while shutting out opposing points of view.

“Respondents favor search engines (59 percent) over human editors (41 percent) and are nearly four times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in,” the report concluded.

The Edelman Trust Barometer was carried out by Edelman Intelligence and consisted of 25-minute online interviews conducted on October 13th – November 16th, 2016.

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