A new survey from Craig Newmark's pro-philanthropy initiative, craigconnects, shows that social media isn't really making any headway in changing how people get news about politics and elections. Furthermore, most who participated in the survey said that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter had a negative effect on the quality of news in the United States.
It's not just social media that's getting the negative reviews as respondents didn't really find any of the six media outlets included in the survey - newspapers, cable news, network news, talk radio, internet news sites, and blogs & social media - to be all that trustworthy. Obviously, such a low opinion of all news sources isn't great news but when it comes to social media sites, only 6% of people said they think the news found on social media is actually credible. As far as how the quality of the news was reflected on social media, 34% felt that it had a negative effects on the quality of the news.
“Most people aren't getting hard election news from social media,” Newmark said, who is also the founder of craigslist. “Tech folks and early adapters are, but not most people, not yet.”
Newmark opined on how he felt all news sources could boost their credibility among audiences. “It's called fact-checking, and there are a lot of good people working on it,” he said. “They're looking at ways to help the news media hold candidates and other public figures accountable for what they tell the public. So far it's hard, and it's not inexpensive, but it's really important.”
Newmark also identified one of the greatest perils of SEO journalism: rumors. "People often hear rumors, report it on social media and then the news outlets scramble to get on top of the story and sometimes things are not fact-checked enough in today's battle to scoop the news first," he told WebProNews. "Overwhelmingly, I hear that people have kind of given up on trusting political news."
As you'll see below, Newmark put together an infographic that displays the full findings from the survey.
(To see a larger version of this graphic, go here.)