One-third of Americans regularly use Facebook as their news source, a recent study from Pew Research Center shows.
“I feel like it is just what is most convenient for us,” said Julia Williams, a freshman studying English. “Some people spend most of their day on these sites and we get addicted to clicking on every interesting or scandalous title.”
Like Williams, many students find social media to be an easy way to stay informed about news.
The Pew Research Center study showed that about 30% of Americans say news on social media has helped their understanding of current events, while 23% say it made them more confused.
“I don’t actively seek out news unless something big is happening and I want more information,” Williams said. “To be honest, I don’t really know if something big is happening until I see Facebook memes or TikToks about it.”
Facebook has a couple of policies about the spread of fake news on their community standards website.
It states, “There is also a fine line between false news and satire or opinion. For these reasons, we don’t remove false news from Facebook but instead, significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in the News Feed.”
When Scroll spoke with 50 BYU-Idaho students, about 60% of students said that most of their online news reading came from scrolling on social media. A few students said they weren’t even aware of news happening until they saw a “meme” about it on social media.
“I’d say that most news has an agenda, but if the topic is harmless and not really controversial I trust it,” said Nicholas Emmett, a senior studying psychology. “As soon as news has people arguing for one side or the other then I don’t trust just the side being shared.”
Emmett said he wished that news organizations would strive to keep both sides of the story and turn away from bias.
A 2020 survey conducted by Gallup, found 36% of participants believed there is a “fair amount” of bias in the news, while 20% felt there was a “great deal” of bias in the news source they use.
Some students find it hard to trust the news, like Tayla White, a sophomore studying horticulture.
“I trust certain ones over the others,” White said. “In the end, they all are out to give you half-truths which is the same way the devil works.”
White expressed that there is bias in the news because of political gain.
“In the end, it really is up to us,” Williams said. “We need to do our research and find reliable sources. Not all news is bad, and we shouldn’t think that just because of one bad experience.”