A study done by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute has found that the number of people getting their news from Facebook has declined around six-percent, globally since 2016, and many are getting it from private messaging apps like WhatsApp. The study found also found that from 2017 to 2018, the use of Facebook for finding news dropped around nine-percent, which could also be due to the fact that Facebook’s big Cambridge Analytica scandal happened in early 2018. This is a big deal, and a bit surprising, but for Facebook it’s still a good thing, since WhatsApp is still owned by Facebook. This study polled around 74,000 people from 37 markets to collect data. So it’s far from being complete, as far as finding out where everyone is getting their news, but it does show a big drop for Facebook and a gain for WhatsApp.
Facebook has been in the news itself, a lot lately, since the 2016 Presidential election. After the election, it was made public that a number of Russian bots had created Facebook pages and were spreading fake news to undermine the election – of course, this wasn’t just Facebook – but Facebook also had its Cambridge Analytica scandal come to light in 2018. The scandal where millions of people’s information was given up to this analytics firm that was used to help get Donald Trump elected. Cambridge Analytica did work to get others elected as well, in recent years, but Donald Trump was the most recent, and most polarizing.
These numbers show that users are looking for other ways to get their news, and make sure it is authentic and trusted news. Seeing as just about anyone can post anything on Facebook, it’s not all that authentic, and there could be a ton of untruthful news articles on the site. That’s why you can’t just trust anything you read on the Internet. Though this has forced companies like Facebook to step up and really work harder to make its news authentic, and make the platform more trustworthy.