Incidental News Exposure on Facebook and Its Relation to Trust in News

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Abstract

There has been a growing interest in the impact of incidental news exposure on audiences as using social media as a source of news is becoming increasingly common practice. This article examines how this may have an impact on the trust in news through an analysis of Facebook news users in three countries—Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (n = 1,296). While trust in general news is no different between those who access news intentionally or incidentally, incidental exposure has a negative relationship to the trust in news on social media. This finding is more prominent among those who use social media as their primary source of news. Among social media news users, those who actively access news have a much higher trust in news they find on social media compared with incidental news users. This gap implies that there are a variety of contexts in which a social media user is exposed to news and a nuanced understanding of the context of incidental versus intentional exposure is needed to fully explain how incidental exposure to news may affect audiences’ trust in news.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2023

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