Following a string of incidents denting the confidence of users about the authenticity of news available on Facebook, the world’s most popular social media platform, its users have decided to pursue their thirst for current affairs on WhatsApp instead. In a case of potential irony, one which sees the news application of choice being owned by the not-preferred Facebook, users have revealed that they seek the real human connection of being able to discuss the issues that affect us all.
The Reuters Institute research has found growing discontent among people regarding mainstream media, with a poll taken in the US showing only a 34% confidence in the news that the media reported. In addition to this, the news industry has had to modify its very style of operation to cater to the growing popularity of Social Media as a global phenomenon, utilizing many of the same platforms and channels that its audience is on to try and connect with them directly. Still, this has not gone to plan as the scepticism regarding veracity of news reported is intrinsically linked to the commercial aspects of the industry, where the line that separates bias and profit-motive is often invisible.
In this report that surveyed the opinions of a generation unhappy with having to question the information that it is being inundated with, several respondents claimed that platforms like Facebook allow people to create false personas, preferring the apparent openness of messaging applications like WhatsApp as a means of having a real conversation about the events that were shaping their lives. However, the issue of bias was shown to run deep among members of an audience itself arranged across the political spectrum, particularly in the US, where Republican Party supporters showed a clear preference for news from channels like Fox, while those with leanings to the Democratic Party preferred CNN.