When it comes to news variety, Twitter may beat Facebook

The Pew Research Center on Tuesday released a 14-page report examining how people use Facebook and Twitter to consume and share news. Most of the findings are in line with conventional wisdom regarding social media's increasing importance among news consumers — one chart, for example, shows that more people are turning to Facebook and Twitter for news — but the report also draws an interesting distinction between the two social networks.

The report, which is based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults by Pew and the Knight Foundation, says that slightly more Twitter users reported seeing a diverse mix of news topics than Facebook users did. Of the Twitter users surveyed, 67 percent said they regularly saw at least six of 11 common categories of news, compared to 57 percent of Facebook users. Although users of both platforms saw roughly the same amount of news about science, the environment and local government, Twitter users reported seeing more news about sports, business, national news and national politics.

Although most demographics view similar news categories, the report notes that women see slightly different topics on Twitter than they do on Facebook. From the report:

While most demographic groups see the various topics on each site at roughly the same rate, one demographic that stands out is gender. On Facebook, women are more likely than men to regularly see stories about entertainment, people and events in your community, and health, while on Twitter, women are more likely to see posts about entertainment, weather and traffic, crime, and health — a finding that echoes past research into differences between men and women in news consumption.

The report also cites several similarities between the two social networks: Users of both services post about the news at about the same rate; both services are secondary sources of news that are more important to younger users; and both sites are being used more by their users for news than ever before.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.

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