A new survey of 526 random Facebook users in the US found that 33% of all users want to see fewer news articles in their feeds. But it’s not all bad news for publishers, there are some positive signs that show some users, particularly young adults, enjoy consuming news via Facebook.
The survey, conducted by Spot.IM, is being released at a time when Facebook is desperately trying to improve the quality of publisher articles that gain traction on its platform. Earlier this month, Facebook announced it would start burying articles with clickbait headlines, and just this past week, the company removed all human editors from its trending news section, a move that immediately resulted in several fake news stories trending on the social network.
Here are some important takeaways from the study:
- Older people are likelier to want less news in their Facebook feeds. While 33% of all respondents indicated there was too much news and shared links in their Facebook feeds, the majority of this group was individuals aged 30 or older. Those 30-44 (37%), 45-59 (36%), and 60+ (36%) said they want less news in their feeds.
- Young Facebook users enjoy consuming news on social media. While middle-aged and older Facebook users don’t like seeing news in their feeds, those aged 18-29 were much more interested and excited to see even more news articles on Facebook. 32% of respondents in this group wanted to see more news, while just 21% wanted less. This is an encouraging sign for publishers who want to reach a new generation of news consumers.
- The majority of people don’t care about how much news they see on Facebook. Overall, 51% of all surveyed said they simply don’t care if more or less news shows up in their Facebook feeds.
Wherever you land on the issue, it’s clear that Facebook (and other social media outlets) and publishers must continue to pay attention to how its audience prefers to consume news. The social media giant is trying to head in the right direction to deliver higher-quality content to its users, but maybe it’s a losing battle when you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of posts going live every second. After all, 59% of people don’t even read the articles they share.