- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2019

The social media realm appears to be failing as a serious news provider for the public. Almost two-thirds of Americans now say that social media providers have “too much control over the news” and favor certain news organizations, according to a major Pew Research Center analysis.

“About 8-in-10 U.S. adults (82%) say social media sites treat some news organizations differently than others, about five times the share saying all news organizations are treated the same (16%),” the analysis said.

The respondents say one ideology in particular is the social media pet: 48% of Americans said the social media sites post news with a liberal slant; 36% said the posts were moderate in content; and 15% said they were conservative. Another 89% think social media companies “control the mix of stories people see” while 90% think “censorship of the news” is a problem.

The research also found that 83% of Americans said “one-sided news” was a problem, 81% cited inaccurate news, and 69% were critical of “censorship of the news.” Another 53% were troubled when news organizations or personalities were banned from social media sites.

Over half of the public — 54% — now get news from social media, up 7 percentage points in the last year. In addition, 62% of all Americans say the sites have too much control; that includes 75% of Republicans and even 53% of Democrats. Overall, 55% of Americans say that social media companies’ efforts to direct what news people see makes matters worse; that includes 66% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats.

In addition, the researchers revealed:

• 89% of Americans say social media companies control the mix of news people see.

• 88% of Americans say the sites favor news organizations that offer “attention grabbing articles.”

• 84% say the sites favor news organizations with a lot of social media followers.

• 79% say the companies favor coverage with “a certain political stance.”

• 56% say the sites favor “well established” news organizations.

• 34% say they favor organizations with “high reporting standards.”

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 5,107 U.S. adults conducted July 8-21 and released Friday.

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