Social media is the most commonly used news source among U.S. respondents that consume the news daily, according to a poll by Morning Consult.
This was followed by network news (26 percent), cable news networks (21 percent) and radio (20 percent).
However, as Statista’s Anna Fleck shows in the infographic below, high usage doesn’t necessarily equate to a strong perception of trustworthiness…
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Where the radio was considered the most reliable source – despite being listened to regularly by a smaller group – the opposite was true of social media, which had a higher usage but half the share of people that trusted it.
A 2021 UNICEF-Gallup survey drew a similar conclusion, this time looking at several countries around the world. It found that while a higher share of young people (15-24 year olds) relied on social media rather than other sources to stay informed about current events, they did not necessarily trust the information they found there.
Not included in the chart but still worthy of note is the generational divide between go-to news sources.
According to Morning Consult’s data, older adults were more likely to opt for traditional media such as cable news networks (32 percent for 65+, 24 percent for 45-64 year olds, 18 percent for 35-44 year olds, 12 percent for 18-34 year olds) and newspapers (21 percent of 65+, versus 9-10 percent in the other age groups), while younger audiences were most drawn to social media platforms (45 percent for 18-34 year olds, 44 percent 35-44 year olds, 33 percent 45-64 year olds, 24 percent 65+).