Study finds half of Americans get news on social media, but percentage has dropped

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New one report good Pew Research shows that nearly a third of US adults continue to get their news from Facebook on a regular basis, although the exact percentage has dropped from 36% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. The drop reflects a slight drop in the number of Americans who say they get their news from any social media platform – a percentage that fell 5 percentage points year-on-year, from slightly less than 53% in 2020 to 48. %, Pew’s study found.

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By definition, “regularly” here means that survey respondents said they “often” or “sometimes,” “rarely,” “never,” or “don’t receive digital news”. Contrary to their news.

This change has come at a time when tech companies have come under heavy scrutiny To allow misinformation to spread on its platform, Pew notes. This criticism has intensified during the pandemic, leading to hesitation and denial of vaccines, which in turn has led to gone bad Health consequences for many Americans who consumed misleading information.


Despite these issues, the percentage of Americans who regularly receive news from various social media sites has not changed much over the past year, indicating how much of these sites have become part of people’s daily news habits.

image credit: pew research

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In addition to a third of American adults who regularly get news on Facebook, 22% say they regularly get news on YouTube. Twitter and Instagram are regular news sources for 13% and 11% of Americans, respectively.

However, many sites have seen small declines among their own users as a regular source of news, Pew says. This is a different measurement than the much smaller percentage of US adults who use the sites for news, as it describes how the sites’ own user base may view them. In a way, it is a measure of the changing behavior of news consumption. frequent young social media users, More specifically.

Today, 55% of Twitter users regularly receive news from its platform, compared to 59% last year. Meanwhile, Reddit users’ use of the site for news fell from 42% to 39% in 2021. YouTube fell from 32% to 30% and Snapchat fell from 19% to 16%. Instagram is roughly the same, from 28% in 2020 to 27% in 2021.

During this time only one social media platform developed as a news source: TikTok.

In 2020, 22% of users of short-form video platforms said they regularly get their news there, compared to a 29% increase in 2021.

Overall, however, most of these sites have little traction with the wider adult population in the US. Less than 1 in 10 Americans regularly follow Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%). , get your news from Snapchat. (4%), WhatsApp (3%) or Twitch (1%).

image credit: pew research

There are also demographic differences between who uses which site.

White adults turn to Facebook and Reddit for news (60% and 54%, respectively). Black and Hispanic adults make up a significant proportion (20% and 33%, respectively) of regular news consumers on Instagram. Younger adults turn to Snapchat and TikTok, while most news consumers on LinkedIn have four-year college degrees.

Of course, Pew’s latest survey, conducted from July 26 to August 8, 2021, is based on self-reported data. This means that people’s answers are based on how users perceive their own use of these different sites for news gathering. This may produce different results than a real-world measure of how often users visited sites to read news. Some users may underestimate their usage and others may underestimate it.

People also may not fully understand the impact of reading news on social media, where headlines and posts are often shrouded in inflammatory clickbait to entice engagement in the form of reactions and comments. This, in turn, can encourage stronger responses – but not necessarily from those worth listening to. In recent Pew studies, it was found that social media news consumers tended to less knowledgeable About facts on major news topics like elections or COVID-19. And social media consumers were often exposed to fringe conspiracies (which is pretty obvious to anyone reading the comments!).

For the current study, the absolute sample size was 11,178 respondents, and the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 1.4 percentage points.

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