Respondents who do not rely solely on their Facebook feed for news perceive that they understand politics better
QUEZON CITY – More Filipinos are getting their news from their Facebook feed compared to other traditional and online media sources, a recent Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) study shows.
Findings revealed that in a typical week, 79% of Filipinos said that they often get their news from incidental or random news exposure on their Facebook feed, 66% from TV, 57% from YouTube, and 54% from news websites.
“While 75% of the respondents often get their news randomly from Facebook, it does not necessarily mean that Facebook is their only source of news. Respondents generally have multiple sources of news,” Project Research Manager and Associate Professor Ma. Rosel San Pascual, PhD explained.
ASoG asked 2,000 respondents in an online survey from October 27 to November 12, 2021 about how often they get news from TV, radio, print, news websites, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The research team is composed of multidisciplinary researchers from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University - School of Government (ASoG).
Results also showed that two in every three respondents or about 71% said that they pay attention to posts about government and politics on their Facebook feed, while more than half or 59% said that they would click on the link to the whole story or watch the video at least most of the time whenever they see a political news story on their Facebook feed.
This indicates that political news on Facebook is a type of content worthy of attention for the respondents, and something that they would likely engage with whenever it appears on their Facebook feed.
Researchers, however, also pointed out that clicking a story or a video does not assure that respondents read or watch the entire story or video.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND CYNICISM
Findings showed that those who do not rely solely on their Facebook feed for political information perceive that they have better understanding of politics and are more confident in participating in political discussions, compared to those who were reliant on their Facebook feed for news and information about politics.
“Those who are not reliant on their Facebook feed for news have a greater variety of sources of news for politics, government, and governance. They are proactively seeking news, they do not just depend on random news exposure on their Facebook feed, they also encounter news from other sources. Thus, they are still informed even if they are not exposed on news from Facebook,” Dr. San Pascual explained.
“Because of this, they tend to feel more confident to engage politically… versus those who only rely on incidental news exposure on Facebook,” she added.
The study also revealed that individuals who rely on random news exposure on Facebook are more cynical about politics than those who are not Facebook-reliant for news.
“Their exposure is just as good as the curated news and commentaries that they encounter in their feed. If the random news that they encounter on their Facebook feed have elements that contribute to their cynicism, high distrust in institutions, high distrust in media, it can help form opinions and develop a more cynical mindset towards government, politics, and their own role in society,” Dr. San Pascual said.
Despite actively consuming news from Facebook, the majority of respondents said that they still trust legacy or traditional media when it comes to providing accurate information about politics and political personalities.
DIVERSIFY SOURCES, FACT CHECK
The authors urge the public to actively seek news stories from diverse and credible news sources especially this election season.
“We wish to remind the public that it is not enough to get political news from your Facebook feed. The habit of actively seeking news from a variety of credible sources is very important to increase your understanding of politics and level of confidence in participating in political affairs,” Prof. San Pascual explained.
The study also emphasized the need to always check the credibility of the source of news stories that the public encounters online and to always fact check its content.
Reading the entire story and watching the entire video after verifying the credibility of news stories are also very important. San Pascual noted that it can be dangerous to just read the caption of a story or video because these can be clickbait and these can be sensationalized.
“Being properly informed will give you that feeling of empowerment, that reinforcement that you actually have the capacity to create the change that you want. Not just when you cast your vote in your ballot, but in everyday practice of being involved in political affairs,” Prof. San Pascual said.