The Pew Research centre has surveyed American adults about their news consumption habits and they found out that those who rely mainly on social media to get their political news are less engaged and less knowledgeable. They also noticed that this group of people are less likely to closely follow news stories, for example, the covid-19 pandemic. This group is composed of young people with lower levels of education and lower political knowledge.
From all those surveyed, 25% prefer news websites or apps to read political news, 18% go on social media to get the news, 16% prefer cable TV, 16% local TV, 13% network TV, 8% listen to the news on the radio and only 3% prefer print. Another interesting fact is that those who get their news on social media have lower political knowledge in comparison with other groups, such as the group that gets their news from news websites and apps.
Being more exposed to false news, at least 81% of the people interviewed have heard that the pandemic was planned by somebody, which is untrue. When quizzed about politics, participants who rely on social media to get their news demonstrated very low knowledge, with 57% of them being unaware of the country’s policies and challenges.
Getting your news and accepting it without questioning is quite dangerous, and it could lead to tragedy. Last year, an Arizona man heard former American President Donald Trump touting the benefits of chloroquine on TV. He and his wife ended up taking the chemical substance found in fish tank cleaner. They immediately felt something was wrong. The woman has recovered but her husband passed away.