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UK voters reject social media ahead of election

News, 29 May 2017

LONDON: As voters in the UK prepare to go to the polls on June 8th, there is fresh evidence of a backlash against "fake news" on social media sites with as many as 15m adults reporting that they're twice as likely to visit mainstream newspaper sites for General Election coverage.

That is according to new research from Teads, a global video advertising marketplace which advises brands on audience readership and adspend targeting.

Teads commissioned research firm Censuswide to question 2,000 UK adults about their most trusted online sources for news and analysis of the election and found a third (33%) trust national newspapers compared to just 10% who felt the same about social media.

The survey showed that three-quarters (76%) of UK adults read national newspaper sites twice a day on average, with 39% of those saying they would visit these sites at least twice as often ahead of the General Election.

Based on statistics from the Office for National Statistics, Teads calculated that this representative sample of 39% equates to just under 15m people.

The survey further revealed that nearly half (46%) of British voters have become more wary of news reported on social media following high profile "fake news" scandals around Brexit and the US presidential election.

And more than half (51%) are concerned that social media sites only show them views similar to their own – the so-called "echo chamber" or "filter bubble" effect.

As a result, 53% say they will actively seek out election news and opinion from multiple news websites that they think will be less likely to share their own political leanings.

Commenting on the findings, Justin Taylor, Managing Director at Teads UK, said: "Concerns over social media fake news and filter bubbles are bringing millions of people to trusted mainstream national newspaper sites more often, as they make up their minds ahead of the election.

"For advertisers, this means a media plan that includes premium publishers will reach millions of consumers who are spending longer than before reading on these sites and being exposed more effectively to brand advertising messages.

"Premium publishers offer advertisers the added advantage of ensuring their message appears in the most brand-safe environment."

Data sourced from Teads; additional content by WARC staff