Study Shows Power of Social Media for News

In case anyone doubted the significance of allegations that Facebook employees were manipulating the social media giant’s “Trending Topics” newsfeed, a Pew Research study this week revealed that 44 percent of all American adults get news on that platform. In fact, Pew found that 62 percent of U.S. adults get news on social media platforms generally, up from 49 percent in 2012.

Researchers found that there was a difference across platforms both in the amount of users who got news and the percentages of those who actively sought out news. Reddit (70 percent), Facebook (67 percent), and Twitter (59 percent) lead the pack in the proportion of site users who get news there, but Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn users are much more likely to be actively seeking out news than those on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Regarding overlap on the platforms, Pew found most users (64 percent) get news on just one, “most commonly Facebook.” Only 10 percent of such consumers get news on three or more sites.

Among other interesting findings are demographic data on various social media platforms. YouTube and LinkedIn have high percentages of male users, while Instagram and Facebook users are more likely to be female. Instagram also stands out for its young and non-white customer base, while LinkedIn users tend to be over age 30 and college-educated.

  • Find the full Pew Research study here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: May 27, 2016

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