Compared to 2017 fewer people are using Facebook for news but are instead using other social media outlets to stay informed, according to the new 2018 Reuters Digital News Report.
Now in its seventh year, the Digital News Report claims that users are more concerned about privacy, fake news, and the toxicity associated with online debate.
The number of people using Facebook as a news source is down by 9% overall compared to 2017, say Reuters. But perhaps most worryingly for Facebook execs is the fact that among its younger viewers, almost 20% no longer use Facebook as a source for news, the Reuters Institute survey has found.
Unfortunately, the 2017 report does not cover the impact of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, or the changes that Facebook made to its news algorithms in the following months. For that information, we’ll have to wait until next year’s findings.
So what are they using instead?
Report lead author Nic Newman said: “We’re seeing many switching their focus to more personal, private spaces like messaging apps for sharing and discussing news.
Newman also pointed out that many users are still using Facebook and Twitter to discover news, but no longer share that information via their Facebook feeds, and instead are choosing to share by using private social media apps such as WhatsApp, where where they feel safe discussing the subject among friends and like minded individuals.
“The use of social media for news has started to fall in a number of key markets after years of continuous growth. We continue to see a rise in the use of messaging apps for news as consumers look for more private spaces to communicate.”
The research, by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, at the University of Oxford, was based on a YouGov online survey of 74,000 people in 37 countries.
WhatsApp was founded in 2009 and bought out by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. The Reuters report also highlights the fact that it is more popular for news than Twitter in many countries.