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News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016

Wednesday 1 June 2016, by SIGNIS

Washington, June, 1st, 2016 (journalism.org). A new survey conducted by Pew Research Center, in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was recently released. It states that a majority of US adults get news on social media.

As part of an ongoing examination of social media and news, Pew Research Center analyzed the scope and characteristics of social media news consumers across nine social networking sites.

The different networking sites studied showed different results:. 66% of Facebook users get news on the site, 59% Twitter users get news on Twitter, and 70% Reddit users get news on that platform. On Tumblr, the figure sits at 31%, while for the other five social networking sites it is true of only about 20% or less of their user bases.

It is useful to see how, when combined with the sites’ total reach, the proportion of users who gets news on each site translates to U.S. adults overall. Facebook is by far the largest social networking site, reaching 67% of U.S. adults. The two-thirds of Facebook users who get news there, then, amount to 44% of the general population. YouTube has the next greatest reach in terms of general usage, at 48% of U.S. adults. But only about a fifth of its users get news there, which amounts to 10% of the adult population. That puts it on par with Twitter, which has a smaller user base (16% of U.S. adults) but a larger portion getting news there.

Of the people who get news on at least one of the sites, a majority (64%) get news on just one – most commonly Facebook. About a quarter, (26%) get news on two of those sites.

Differences also emerge in how active or passive each group of news users is in their online news habits more generally. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram news users are more likely to get their news online mostly by chance, when they are online doing other things. Alternatively, the portion of Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn news users who seek out news online is roughly similar to the portion that happen upon it.

This report is an update to a 2013 report, with the addition of Snapchat and the removal of three sites: Pinterest, which has been shown to have a small portion of users who use it for news; Myspace, which has largely transitioned to a music site; and Google+, which through its recent transformations is being phased out as a social networking site. For the sites analyzed in both 2013 and 2016, a few significant differences emerge.

The full 2013-2016 trends for usage and demographics can be found in the Appendix.

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