Social Media Loses Trust as Source of News: Report

By: Michael Crooks

As a news source, Facebook is losing friends, but TikTok’s popularity has doubled.

A new University of Canberra report has revealed that Australians are moving away from all forms of social media as a source of news.

The Digital News Report Australia 2022 is based on a survey completed by more than 2000 Australians. The report, which is conducted by the university’s News and Media Research Centre, revealed that overall trust in news had fallen.

The report, conducted by the University of Canberra, revealed that overall trust in news has fallen.

“Rather than waiting for ‘news to find me’ on social media, younger generations are more actively seeking news directly,” said the report’s lead author, Professor Sora Park.

Professor Park said the findings “are important indicators as to how Australians will consume news in the future. Particularly in terms of younger people – Generations Y and Z – who are consuming their news in non-traditional ways, like through podcasts”.

More People Paying for News

The survey found that since the last report (in 2019), 18 per cent of Australians were now paying for online news – a rise of five per cent.

“Young people tend to use a diverse range of news sources – social, online, TV, podcasts – and it seems they don’t want to be tied down to a single source or single subscription,” Professor Park said. “And younger people are much more likely to pay for news – 28 per cent of Gen Y pay for news.”

Netflix Wins

But when it comes to paying for any type subscription, Spotify and Netflix were preferred over forking out cash for news.

More than 66 per cent of those surveyed paid for a streaming service, 45 per cent had a music subscription, and 21 per cent paid a subscription service for audio books and podcasts, such as Amazon’s Audible.

“This means that news is actually the least popular type of subscription service people pay for, with only 12 per cent paying for an ongoing subscription,” Professor Park said.

Facebook is still winning the socials game, with 67 per cent of people saying they used the platform. But as a source of news, it is no longer trusted.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s popularity has doubled to 15 per cent, and a third of those users are using the platform as a news source.


So where do people get their news?

Dedicated news websites or TV are now the preferred sources of trusted news in Australia.

Dedicated news websites or TV are now the preferred sources of trusted news in Australia. “But this doesn’t mean they are using social media less,” Professor Park said.

“But this doesn’t mean they are using social media less,” Professor Park said. “In fact, they are using more platforms – for general use and not for news.”

The report also probed why people looked for news.

“Almost half say their most important reason for consuming news is that they feel a duty to keep themselves informed,” Professor Park said. “Only 14 per cent say that they watch news because they find it entertaining and fun.”

Other key findings of the report include:

  • More than half of Australians say journalists should only report the news, and not express their personal opinion on social media platforms.
  • More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents now actively avoid the news.
  • Trust in news has fallen, with 41 per cent saying they trust the news.
  • Almost half of Australians believe that Australian news organisations put their political views and commercial interests ahead of what is best for society.

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image:

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