May 26, 2016

The Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation have updated their 2013 research on news consumption across social media platforms.

The new report mainly documents with specific numbers what’s already clear — that use of social media as a primary news source is extensive, growing and spreading to other platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter.

Two findings jumped out at me:

  • Social media news consumers, by a wide margin — 64 percent, get news just one on favorite site. So a Facebook enthusiast will use that news feed exclusively, a Snapchat fan just Snapchat. Of those surveyed, only 10 percent get news on three or more social sites.
  • I was also struck by a tweet from Lee Rainie, who directs Pew’s internet research. He noted that we have evolved to a news landscape where, for many readers, their friends are the primary gatekeepers and editors of what news they see.
  • Pew’s own summary emphasizes two additional findings:

  • A majority of U.S. adults – 62 percent – get news on social media, and 18% do so often.
  • Two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) get news on the site, nearly six-in-ten Twitter users (59%) get news on Twitter, and seven-in-ten (70%) Reddit users get news on that platform.
  • The research was done in January and February and sampled more than 4,500 adults.

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Rick Edmonds is media business analyst for the Poynter Institute where he has done research and writing for the last fifteen years. His commentary on…
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