Ofcom: Fewer People Getting News From Social Media

Usage of social media as a source for news has dropped as trust in the platforms continues to decline, Ofcom’s latest report on news consumption in the UK has found.

Ofcom’s ‘News consumption in the UK’ report, published today, found that the number of respondents using social media as a source for news had dropped from 49 per cent in 2019 to 45 per cent in 2020. 

The report found that those who use social media platforms rate them less highly on a range of measures.

Trust has decreased from 38 per cent in 2019 to 35 per cent in 2020; impartiality has reduced from 37 per cent in 2019 to 34 per cent in 2020, as has accuracy, falling from 39 percent in 2019 to 36 per cent in 2020.

Evidence also shows that UK adults who use social media for news (45 per cent) are less engaged with the news content. Users of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are less likely to share trending news articles and smaller proportions are clicking on new articles (Facebook/Instagram) or making comments (Instagram/Twitter), compared to 2019.

The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday is the most widely read news title and one of the most widely read digital titles, along with the Guardian and Observer, the report found.

People are also increasingly likely to source their new stories from news organisations, rather than family, friends or other people they follow, showing that news platforms are becoming a more significant driver of news on social platforms.

Online news users are also more likely to go directly to the websites or apps of a news provider than a search engine or aggregator. Use of newspaper websites and apps increased year-on-year, the survey found.

Readers of the Guardian, the Times and the Telegraph print continue to rate these papers comparatively highly for “high quality”, “helps me understand what’s going on in the world today”, “accurate” and “trustworthy.”