Twitter, Facebook becoming dominant news sources for more American adults

twitter facebook dominant news sources american adults new york times
Credit: The New York Times/Twitter

In a new study from the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, more adult Americans are turning to Twitter and Facebook to keep up with current events.

The results aren’t really all too surprising, since prior Pew research has demonstrated that overall social media use across various platforms has been steadily increasing from 2012 to 2014. Only two years ago, just about half of all adult Americans said they used Twitter and Facebook to get their news; in 2015, that number has spiked to 63 percent for both platforms. Two thousand adults were surveyed for this study.

One reason is because of news editors’ policies. Many news agencies today concentrate much of their resources on having their reporters and journalists write quicker and promote their stories on social media sites. This is in the hopes of getting more clicks and eyeballs to the news site.

According to USA Today, the homepages of news agencies still possess brand value, particularly to loyal readers, so there will always be eyeballs on the online front pages of Fox News or CNN. However, more publishers are realizing that social media referrals are the number one source of site traffic, and therefore, readers. Consequently, news agencies’ social media editors now enjoy a greater mandate to broaden their reach across platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

As for stats, Pew found Twitter beats Facebook in important news-engagement categories: 59 percent of Twitter users rely on the micro-blogging platform to follow breaking news, but only 31 percent of Facebookers do the same. Forty-six percent of those who use Twitter say they follow news organizations or journalists’ accounts, but only 28 percent of those who use Facebook say the same thing.