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Do we spend too much time online consuming fake news?

How many hours per day are we on social media for, how much honest information are we consuming, and does this affect how we vote?

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Do we spend too much time online consuming fake news?

Posted on 11/12/2019 by Maddy Goddard

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How many hours per day are we on social media for, how much honest information are we consuming, and does this affect how we vote?

 

How Do You Read the News?

For many years, newspapers and word of mouth were the only ways to receive news. However, in 2019, newspaper circulation on average is down by 10%. This is incredibly low, especially as until the past couple of years, newspaper circulation has still been on the increase.

Explaining the decline in the interest in newspapers, is the 64% of millennials whom use digital outlets to find out what's happening in the world, with 33% of those people using social media as their primary news source.

Reading the news can very often change opinions, and with a large proportion of online news readers not checking the reliability of the source, a lot of information can be twisted, lost, or even cut out, especially news found on social media.

 

Time Well Spent on Social Media?

Adults, on average, spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on the internet per day, with more than a third of the total time spent online in the UK on sites owned by Google or Facebook. 68% of this internet usage is spent on smartphones.

It has even come to the point in which both adults and children spend more time on the internet than they do watching TV. If you tried to tell someone this 10, or even five, years ago, they would have never believed you.

One in every five minutes spent online is on social media, meaning that UK internet users spend 39 minutes each day on average on services including Facebook (23 minutes on average), Snapchat (9 minutes on average), WhatsApp, Instagram (5 minutes on average), Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/149253/online-nation-summary.pdf)

In 2018, 44% of adults claimed to consume news via social media, but is this really the best source of information? Especially as anyone can post anything as anybody…

 

Real or Not Real…

In 2020, it is theorised that Instagram could be a huge source of fake news, especially for elections and other political goings-on, due mainly to propaganda and cleverly edited videos and images. This could mean that it is becoming even more difficult to read true news stories and differentiate these from all the fake news on the web. Especially as the internet and social media channels are such a huge source for providing ‘news’ stories in society today.

Just remember that even though life may be easier with mobile technology, finding straight facts and news stories on it may not be. And after some of the social media tricks played by election parties this year, we need to understand that sometimes social media is not a great place to receive 100% correct information.

And as polling stations open tomorrow for the election, just double check that the facts you have are from a reliable source and are completely true, and only then should you make a well-informed decision.