Facebook sees significant drop of the people that use it for news

FILE – In this May 1, 2018, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes the keynote speech at F8, Facebook developer conference in San Jose, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has come under fire for the rise of the so-called ” fake news,” a matter of the company is the correct, albeit with varying degrees of success. Despite her efforts, the social network has seen a significant decline of the people who use it for news, messaging apps, including Facebook-owned WhatsApp, increasingly for news consumption.

The Digital News Report notes that social media, in particular Facebook, has seen a sharp decline in news consumption worldwide, as well as in the USA. “news consumption through Facebook is a decrease of 9 percentage points in the United States, and 20 points for the younger group,” Nic Newman, Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, wrote in the report summary.

Newman continued: “In our urban Brazilian example of the use of Facebook for news has declined to 52 percent — a 17-point change from 2016.”


The report was quick to add that the decline is not universal, with Facebook news use increases in countries such as Malaysia and the Czech Republic, “but in most countries the picture is one of decline.”

Facebook recently announced the funding news is on the Facebook Watch platform, including one from Fox News, which is known as “Fox News Update.”

of the decline is due to concerns about privacy and the often controversial nature of the debate about the platform, but also a change to Facebook’s algorithms, the priority of news in users ‘ News Feeds.

Following the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the changes, which included showing less viral videos resulted in a “reduction of the time spent on Facebook by approximately 50 million hours each day.”

A source familiar with Facebook thinks that these efforts, which Facebook describes in a blog post earlier this year, said that Facebook will work to ensure that users can see “news from the publications of the community rates as a reliable,” news, they find both informative and relevant.

The research was done by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, and was based on a survey from YouGov “over 74,000 online news consumers in 37 countries, including the united states and the united kingdom.”


WhatsApp’s rise in the news

While on Facebook, the findings from the report are not all bad, especially if WhatsApp is important in the way people share and consume news.

The study found that the average consumption for news about WhatsApp has doubled in four years, to 16 percent. The discussion about the news on WhatsApp is also significant, with 24 per cent of the respondents are more likely to “take part in a private discussion about the news” and 16 percent chance “to take part in a group set up specifically to discuss a news topic.”

“WhatsApp or any other way seems much more of a private,” said a woman in the age between 20 and 29, who was part of a focus group. “If it is a kind of hybrid between text messaging and social media. Whereas in Facebook, for some reason it feels like the audience. Even if you are in Messenger.”

Other apps, such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, also see what the use for the news, but much less than WhatsApp, because these services are not primarily focused on messaging.



WhatsApp is proud of the end-to-encryption, and never to users ads, something that put it at odds with parent company Facebook, which generates most of its revenue from advertising. The privacy features can help explain why it has seen a large bump in the news consumption.

“Privacy is an important issue for users, and this partly explains the growth in the use of messaging apps, in contrast to the more open social networks,” Antonis Kalogeropoulos, Research Fellow, Reuters Institute, wrote. “As mentioned in the Summary, the users in a number of ‘less free’ countries are more likely to think well before expressing their political views online.”

The study also noted that the increase of the consumers to pay for news is maintained since the elections, particularly if the crisis in fake news persists. “Last year, a significant increase in digital subscriptions in the United States (the so-called Trump Bump) is maintained, while donations and donation on the basis of memberships to grow in popularity,” reads the report.


The study noted that the concern about the fake news to continue, with 54 percent of the respondents say that they were concerned about this issue, in countries such as the USA, Brazil and Spain.

The trust is in the news, stood at 44 percent, but only 34 percent of respondents saying they trusted news found via search and only 23 percent trusted news found on social networks such as Facebook.

In October 2017 Zuckerberg to ask for forgiveness for the way in which the social network “was used to divide people instead of bring us together.”

“For the people I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I’ll try to be better,” Zuckerberg wrote during the last evening of Yom Kippur. “For the way in which my work is divide people instead of us working together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better. We can all be better in the coming year, and may you be inscribed in the book of life.”

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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