Almost Half of Adults Know Someone Influenced by Misinformation on Social Media

November 18, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories: Boomers & Older | Customer-Centric | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Men | Privacy & Security | Social Media | Women | Youth & Gen X

AdAgeHarrisPoll Misinformation on Social Media Nov2021

Along with more brands expressing concerns about brand safety and the impact of ad adjacency, data from Harris Poll and Ad Age finds that 45% of adults surveyed say that they have a friend or family member who has been influenced by misinformation on social media, with those ages 35-44 (57%) being most likely to agree with that statement.

Despite reported claims from a whistleblower about Facebook putting profit over the welfare of its users, only a little more than one-third (35%) of respondents who use Facebook who are aware of these claims say they are likely to stop using or delete their Facebook account after these claims. However, a larger share (42%) of Instagram users aware of the current social media controversies say they are likely to stop using the platform given reports about the app’s effect on youth mental health, while 58% are likely to limit or completely stop their children from using the app for this reason. 

Social Media’s Influence on Purchase Behavior

Early projections showed that social media ad spending in the US was expected to grow by more than 15% this year. And, while many consumers use social media to discover and learn about new products or services, the survey shows that some have gone on to buy a product after seeing an ad for it on Facebook or Instagram.

About 4 in 10 (39% of) US adults surveyed who say they use Facebook also say they have purchased a product or service after seeing an ad for it on Facebook. Furthermore, Facebook users ages 35-44 and 45-54 are more likely than average to purchase a product after seeing an ad for it on Facebook.

A smaller share of Instagram users say they have purchased a product or service after seeing an ad for it on Instagram (33%). However, it turns out that men (37%) are more likely than women (28%) to have purchased something after seeing an ad for it on Instagram. Also, adults ages 55-64 are far less likely than average to say they have purchased a product they saw advertised on the platform, while those ages 35-44 are more likely than average to have done so.

More details from the survey can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,014 US adults.

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