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New Research Delves into Social Media’s Role as a Modern News Source


According to new data from the Pew Research Center, compiled as part of a study which aimed to explore the role of social media platforms among US citizens as a fast-rising source of news, 67% of US adults now turn to social media for this purpose, with just over a quarter (26%) of respondents acquiring their news from multiple social media sites, up from 15% in 2013 and 18% in 2016.

Facebook reportedly maintains the largest share of news consumers of any social media platform with 45% of US adults making use of the site in such a way; of those users approximately 50% use Facebook as their sole source of news, at least as far as competing social media platforms are concerned.

At the other end of the scale sit well-known platforms including WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Instagram, which area used as news sources by 2%, 5%, 5%, and 7% of the US population respectively. News users who utilise these platforms are also far more likely to find news across three or more social media sites, with more than half of their users doing so.

Reddit stands as something of an anomaly; while only 4% of US adults use the site as a news source, among those who do a surprisingly-low proportion of just 38% spread their search for news across three or more social media platforms, as compared to 68% among Instagram’s news users. Reddit’s small audience is apparently rather exclusive.

The report also offered insight into the demographical split of news users across various platforms, revealing that “US adults who get news from multiple social networking sites are more likely to be non-white and younger. About half (47%) of news consumers who rely on two or more social media sites for news are non-white (including Hispanics), compared with about one-fourth (26%) of those who use just one site. They are more likely to be under age 50: 77% are 18-49 compared with 56% of those who use just one site for news. Additionally, they are twice as likely to be ages 18-29 (37% vs. 18%).”

The data provided by the report could prove highly valuable to online news outlets that rely on said social media platforms in order to reach their audience, providing further clarity on who exactly they can expect to find scrolling through the feeds of each.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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New Research Delves into Social Media’s Role as a Modern News Source Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 Rating: 5

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