Tell us something we didn’t know: Social media is America’s favorite news source

social media main news source for american adults pew study socialmediastudy
Esther Vargas/Flickr (used under Creative Commons)
Most U.S. adults get news via social media, according to a new Pew Research Center study. Facebook came out as the prominent social network for news, while the Twitter-owned Vine ranked last.

Results show 62 percent of American adults find news on social media, with 18 percent of those adults say they view news on social media often.

For the study, Pew analyzed how users access news on nine social media platforms: Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, You Tube, Linked In, Snapchat, and Vine. The 4,654 members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel were surveyed for the study in January and February.

PJ_2016.05.26_social-media-and-news_0-02According to the report, Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter users get more than 50 percent of the their news from their respective sites. Digging further, Reddit users get their news from Reddit more than Facebook users get from Facebook (70 percent versus 66 percent).

But Facebook is actually the most popular social network for news: 67 percent of U.S. adults are on Facebook, and 44 percent of them get news from there. Whereas only 4 percent is on Reddit and only 2 percent of U.S. adults get news from that network.

You Tube has the second greatest audience but is used less often for news, while Twitter has a smaller audience but is used more often. You Tube reaches 48 percent of U.S. adults, but only 10 percent use it to get their news. Twitter’s user base is only 16 percent of U.S. adults but 59 percent them get news there.

Demographics vary across social media platforms. Instagram has the most users between 18 and 29 years old and the most non-white users. More LinkedIn users are white and have college degrees, the survey finds.

The study also finds 64 percent of social media consumers get news from only one site, while 26 percent get news from two sites and 10 percent get news from three or more sites.

Social media may be the winner when it comes to people’s choice for news, but those users still access news via television, radio, websites, and print.


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