News organizations' brands matter little to Facebook users, study finds


A third of Americans get news from Facebook, a new study from Pew Research Center says. But 80 percent of the people who get news on Facebook get it when they're on Facebook for other reasons.

Only 20 percent of people who told Pew they click on links inside Facebook posts said they did so because they prefer the news organization that produced the story. Nearly twice as many said a friend's recommendation was important, and half said they clicked because a story looked surprising, funny or entertaining.

Entertainment news and local news are the biggest draws for Facebook news consumers, Pew found. Less than a third of people who read news on Facebook said they go there for breaking news.

Only 16 percent of the people surveyed said they were bothered by people posting their opinions to news stories. Forty-seven percent said they were bothered by people bragging or complaining about their lives.

Still, news remains a "common but incidental experience" on Facebook, Pew found. One respondent told the researchers: “News on Facebook is just something that happens.”

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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