Rigged elections and referendumns, false reports of celebrity deaths and many other examples of fake news (and I mean real fake news not just what someone might not like to hear) is denting our reliance on social media for news.
A report from Ofcom says that the proportion of people in the UK relying on social media to keep up with the latest stories has fallen from 49% in 2019 to 45% in 2020.
Bad news for Facebook and Twitter
This estimated drop of around 2 million moving away from social media is not great news for social giants such as Facebook and Twitter – however it could also have an impact on marketers using their platforms. If people stop believing the news on these channels – could this result in a systematic loss of trust of all what they read on these networks?
Along with marketing, through sponsored adverts, marketers benefit from the huge recomendation engine that organically happens as their friends share their entrhusiasm for products, people and places. If the resultant loss of trust spreads to this too the damage will be even wider.
A war on fake news
The big social networks are increasingly stepping up their war on fake news. From Twitter adding fact check alerts to Donald Trump’s posts to the suspension of accounts and pages of fake news spreaders social networks are definately upping their game.
Whilst this may have started due to preasure from government bodies around the world, in the same way advertisers took action to stop their adverts being along side hate content on social networks, they may also question the value of appearing in an environment that people simply do not trust.
Cost of fake news
The cost of fake news is far and wide, not just to democracy, economically, but having real life and death impacts on people around the world. The social networks that helped it spread have started to take action, but if their actions don’t go deep and wide enough it could cost them more than just trust.