Study Reveals Social Media's Role in Distorting News and Spreading Misinformation

Ever since the innovation of the internet, the quality of life has been tremendously uplifted; whether it's effortless communication or seeking necessary information to keep oneself updated on worldly affairs, the internet can do it all.

However, over recent years, the internet has taken twists and turns due to social media platforms now providing more distorted, unreliable, and untrustworthy news about any event. The new trend of inaccurate information sharing was brought to light by the extensive research and evidence collected by the Knight Foundation and Pew Research on how Americans experience news on various social media platforms.

What's worth noticing is that news is often presented in a distorted way by the fact that for any same event, it's communicated and shown differently from platform to platform, whether it be Facebook, TikTok, or X. In fact, the sources behind this news are random people and social media influencers instead of actual journalists.

The collaborative study also found that most people weren’t on social media in the first place to get news. It was reported that 41% of the users on TikTok, 33% on Instagram, and 37% on Facebook said that it was a minor or major priority for them to use their platforms to get their news. However, X stood alone amongst all the other social media sites when it came to getting news as the preliminary reason for its users, with 65% in favor.

Upon closer examination of the types of news that participants claimed to see, opinions and "funny posts" regarding current affairs emerged as the most popular categories. The statistics for people expressing opinions about any topic or current event is found to be most on X, with 85%. In second place comes Facebook with 84%, and then TikTok with 80%. Instagram had the least users for the expression of their opinion, 67%. Meanwhile, the number of people who view funny content and posts that relate to current events was 79% for X, 81% for Facebook, 84% for TikTok, and 73% for Instagram.

On the other hand about the credibility of the sources of information shared on these platforms, 85% of the news on Facebook was through friends and family, Instagram it was 72%, TikTok 48%, and X had the least with 26% of the information coming from relatives and acquaintances. On the other hand, the information coming from legit media outlets was the most for X, with 80% of the consumers, 68% for Facebook, 67% for TikTok, and 65% for Instagram. Additionally, 86% of X users reported seeing news that "seems inaccurate," highlighting the widespread concern about misinformation across social media platforms.

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