Americans who rely on social media for news are less aware of the most important issues and more likely to believe false or unverified information, according to a study by the Pew Research Center (PRC).
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The study concludes that such people are much more susceptible to various rumors and inventions.
In the digital age, more and more people around the world are relying on social media platforms for news.
The PRC survey found that about 18% of respondents get most of their news about politics and elections from social media. However, these people were less likely to answer questions about politics and current affairs correctly when compared to respondents who rely on print media, broadcasters or news applications for news.
Consumers of social media news, on the other hand, knew far more specific false or unconfirmed stories about the coronavirus and indicated that they had seen more misinformation about the pandemic.
In political news, social media users were less aware of facts such as the functioning of the electoral college and the unemployment rate.
Approximately 9,000 adults were interviewed several times during the study between November 2019 and December 2020.
Most respondents said they did not trust social media. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook showed the least trust.
Of the traditional media users, about a quarter of Americans – both left and right – read the news on party news sites, the study found.
About three in ten Republicans relied on former President Donald Trump as a source of information about the election and the coronavir, the study concluded.
These Republicans were more likely to think the Covid-19 pandemic was exaggerated and more likely to see fraud as a significant threat to the integrity of the election.
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