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Digital news trends for 2018

Jonathan Murphy

Technology & Creativity Blog editor

Report author Nic Newman reveals this years news trends

Social media as a source for news is in decline for the first time, according to an international poll which was revealed to the BBC this week. Most of the drop was due to a growing distrust in Facebook as a news platform.  Meanwhile people's trust in the news in general has stayed stable with just over half of people saying they trust the news they use themselves. 

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report is an annual survey of digital news usage across the world, and this year it polled 74,000 people in 37 countries. 

It found that usage of Facebook as a source of news had dropped for the first time, most noticeably in the US (down 9%) but also most other countries including the UK (down 2% to 27%). 

Other trends that emerged were:

  • 58% of those polled in the UK were concerned about fake news. This percentage is higher in other countries where there's a higher level of polarised opinion like Brazil (85%) with upcoming elections and Spain (69%) after the Catalan independence vote
  • There's a higher proportion of people wanting government intervention to stop fake news in Europe (60%) than in the US (41%)
  • Social platforms are least trusted in the UK of all countries surveyed (12%), with higher trust for "mainstream" media such as broadcast and quality newspapers
  • More people are using messaging apps such as Whatsapp to share news, particularly in Malaysia (54%) and Brazil (48%) however the take-up in the UK is still relatively small (5%)
  • There's a gradual increase in people paying for online news subscriptions - 16% up in the US, while for the UK it's 7%
  • Podcasts are becoming more popular (18%), particularly among younger people
  • The same is true for voice-activated speakers. Usage has doubled in the UK, with just under half using them to access news. 

You can find more details here. 

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