With the wireless age upon us, we are inundated with news stories from every angle possible. Tweeting, texting, sharing, websites, newsfeeds, Flipboard and the ever popular Facebook all throw news at us every day. Whom do we trust to provide us with our news coverage? A new poll by Morning Consult shows that nearly 50-percent of Americans had heard about accusations that Facebook was suppressing conservative news stories and that most of the people under the age of 45 heard about those allegations on Facebook itself!
News has taken on a new face in recent years. Long gone are the traditional journalists and trusted newscasters like Walter Cronkite. A more sensationalistic form of newscasting that does a short, opinionated story full of juicy gossip has replaced them…and that seems to be what we want to hear. According to this poll of 2000 registered voters, we want to our interests in the news to come first and editors’ judgments to come second. This decision seems to hold true for both traditional news outlets – TV, Radio – and in the social media platforms. When asked how social media companies should determine which news stories to report on, 31-percent said reader interest should be the determining factor. 29-percent said it should be a combination of reader interest and the editor’s discretion. Only 11-percent thought it should be based on an editor’s opinion, and the remaining 29-percent had no opinion.
One thing was certain during this polling – voters do not want the government involved in deciding what stories should show up on the social media platforms, and this is reflected in just an 11-percent request that the government should be involved. The federal government could play an indirect role via the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since they set rules and regulations for cable companies and more traditional news content. When reminded those social media companies like Facebook can influence what news we read more so than other traditional media outlets, the voters got a little less comfortable with the idea of Facebook determining what news is.
I doubt very much that Facebook has anything to worry about as they continue to grow - 58-percent still think the companies should have control over what is newsworthy. Older people read Time, Newsweek, the WSJ, and NYT and listen to NPR radio, while the newest generation wants it fast, short, sweet, and sensational. The latest national election coverage on Facebook goes to show you how many lies and dramatic stories are posted and reposted by people that believe what they read without ever verifying whether it is true or not...that would take too much time.