Brits don’t trust news shared on social media

A Hootsuite and We Are Social report explores British attitudes towards news distributed on social media.

Just 6% of Brits trust news stories distributed by social platforms, despite 39% of them regularly using social media networks to get the latest headlines.

The average proportion of people worldwide who trust news on social media, however, is as high as 22%.

The findings are part of the latest Digital 2020 report from social media management platform, Hootsuite, and We Are Social, a socially-led creative agency.

Other statistics published in the report suggest that British people are less likely than citizens of other countries to trust news distributed by digital media. As many as 63% of British citizens worry that online news stories are fake, compared to 56% of people around the world.

What is more, fewer people (7%) pay for their online news content in the UK than in any other country.

The report also details global levels of social media consumption. The number of people who use social media today – 3.96 billion – equates to more than half (51%) of the world’s population. When the proportion of the world’s ‘eligible’ population (people aged 13 and above) who use social media is considered, this percentage increases to 65%.

The fact that 376 million people have signed up to social media networks since July 2019 indicates that the number of social media users has increased over the past 12 months by more than 10%. It also suggests that every day since this time last year, around one million people created social media accounts.

Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite, said the data indicates that there have been dramatic changes in social and digital behaviour since COVID-19 lockdowns took effect. “Social media and messenger use has skyrocketed, and even digital advertising has been forced to become more adaptive and agile,” he remarked.

It is worth noting that running advertisements on Instagram now enables brands to reach 1.08 billion people; the platform has added 111 million new users to its advertising reach over the past three months. The global user base of LinkedIn has also grown during the pandemic; the business networking site now has 700 million registered users, having gained around 25 million since the end of April.

Nathan McDonald, global chief executive of We Are Social, believes this acceleration of social media use suggests that “our lives are becoming increasingly interwoven with the digital world”.

The report reveals that there are now 4.57 billion internet users worldwide, and that people spend an average of 6 hours 42 minutes on the internet per day.

Keiser. said: “The challenge organisations – from business to nonprofits to government agencies to healthcare organisations – face today is how to manage all of these rapid shifts.

“Organisations need a holistic approach to managing their social and digital communications to remain connected while also listening to the changing social conversations to help ensure they are purposefully engaging with their audience.”

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