More than half of online users across 26 countries say they use social media as a source of news each week, signalling the scale of disruption to traditional news media organisations and consequences for the future of journalism, a new Oxford study says.
The fifth Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford suggests the combined effects of the rise of social platforms, an accelerating move to mobile devices and a growing rejection by consumers of online ads has undermined business models that support quality news.
The study says 51% of all online users across the 26 countries say they use social media as a source of news each week. Around one in ten now say this is their main source.
It shows the increasingly influential role played by Facebook in the distribution of online news, with 44% using the network to find, read, watch, share or comment on the news each week. You Tube(19%) too plays a role in some countries, while Twitter (10%) remains important for those who are into keeping up with the news. Social media is more important for women and for the young.
“As people increasingly access news via third party platforms, it will become harder for most publishers to stand out, connect with users and make money,” said Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the institute’s director of research.