Half of Americans Get Their News From Facebook, But Few Trust the Source

Many are wary of news feed, according to BuzzFeed and Ipsos study

Last Updated: April 13, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

Nearly half of American adults get their news from Facebook, according to a new survey by BuzzFeed News and Ipsos Public Affairs. But more than half of those who do are skeptical about what they read on the social media platform.

The survey shows that 48 percent of respondents said Facebook is “a major or minor source of news,” while only 20 percent said it is “rarely” a news source. The remaining 32 percent of respondents said “Facebook was never a source or they weren’t familiar with the platform.”

Among the respondents who said Facebook is a news source, 54 percent said they trust news on their feed “only a little” or “not at all.”

This bar chart from Buzzfeed News offers more insight:

Respondents also weighed in on how important various factors are when determining the trustworthiness of news on Facebook. Eighty-three percent said the news source was very or somewhat important, which was the highest response.

Earlier this year, Facebook hired former CNN and NBC News anchor Campbell Brown to help combat fake news after months of turmoil surrounding the spread fake or biased news.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said last year she doesn’t “think” the spread of fake news on her social media platform helped Donald Trump win the presidential election. Speaking in December on NBC’s “Today” show, Sandberg said Facebook has “taken important steps” to prevent the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories. While some Democrats believe the issue helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, Sandberg isn’t among them.

“There have been claims that it swayed the election, and we don’t think it swayed the election,” Sandberg said. “But we take that responsibility really seriously. And we’re looking at things, like working with third parties, helping to label false news, doing the things we can do to make it clearer what’s a hoax on Facebook.”

Back in November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined his plan to fight the spread of fake news on the platform. Zuckerberg initially downplayed the criticisms that fake news being spread on his social media site could have contributed significantly to swaying the 2016 presidential election, but later made concessions to the contrary.