The blocking of news on Meta appears to have eroded Quebecers’ confidence in the news they consume on social networks, according to a survey by researchers from Laval University unveiled Tuesday.

The proportion of Quebec adults who trust news and current affairs broadcast on social networks fell from 38% in 2022 to 31% this year, reveals the NETendances survey published today by the Academy of Digital Transformation.

“For comparison, the proportion of the Quebec population who trust traditional media remained stable at 73% during the same period,” specifies the spokesperson for the NETendances surveys at ATN, Bruno Guglielminetti.

Trust in social media content is particularly plummeting among young people aged 18 to 34, with a drop of 11 percentage points.

The NETendances survey also notes that in 2023, the year in which Meta blocked news from traditional media on its platforms, 4% of adults have abandoned social networks as the most often used source of information. At the same time, a gain of 4% is observed among websites offering information content.

“That’s interesting, we see that there is a communicating vase,” notes Mr. Guglielminetti. It’s good news. We could have feared losing them in the passage. But we have seen that people go directly to media sites. »

In total, we see that 29% of Quebec adults have had to change their news habits because of Meta’s blocking of online news. This proportion is 61% among those aged 18 to 34.

Surprisingly, 20% of Quebec adults say it is “very or somewhat likely” that they will close their Facebook account if the news blocking persists. This proportion increases to 35% among adults aged 18-24 and 36% among respondents aged 25-34.

Unsurprisingly, however, the proportion of Quebecers who get their news on television and in the written press continues to decline, by seven and eight percentage points respectively over one year.

The study confirms that adults under 44 get their information mainly on social networks and that older adults prefer traditional media.

“The government should be alerted to see that there are two categories of citizens, with the young and the old. Now that there is much less information on social networks, what type of information are young people exposed to? » asks Bruno Guglielminetti.

The NETendances survey was carried out through data collection from September 5 to 30, 2023 from 1,220 Quebec adult Internet users aged 18 and over via the Web. Non-Internet adults from the survey’s annual telephone collection were added. The results have been weighted. The maximum margin of error, depending on the estimated proportion, is ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20.