More and more Americans receive news on Facebook and Twitter, data from Pew Research Center has revealed. According to the survey, the majority of Facebook (63%) and Twitter (63%) users get news on the social network. This is a significant increase on 2013, when those figures were 47% and 52% respectively.
What Sort of News?
Although the portion of users receiving news is the same on both Facebook and Twitter, there are differences in terms of what form this news takes. For example, the portion of users who say they follow breaking news on Twitter is nearly twice as high as those who say they do so on Facebook (59% versus 31%). This supports the view that Twitter’s strength lies in the provision of real-time event coverage and commentary.
Another difference lies in the variety of news users receive. 67% of Twitter users report regularly receiving at least six of 11 news topics asked about, compared with 57% of users on Facebook. Nevertheless, nearly all of the topics asked about are seen by at least half of users on each social network.
Who’s Seeing It?
This research shows that the rise in the share of social media users who receive news on Facebook and Twitter cuts across demographics. On both social networks, news consumption is on the rise among over 35s and under 35s, just as it is among men and women.
What’s more, there is a large amount of overlap in terms of where social media users receive news. One in five Facebook users also receive news on Twitter, while 78% of Twitter users get news on Facebook, too. This means that overall, 8% of US adults receive news on both Facebook and Twitter.
What Does This Mean?
The rising number of people receiving news on Facebook and Twitter fits into a much larger development: more than ever, social media is where people go to find information. This information includes news, but it also includes customer service exchanges, user reviews, industry insights, video content and much more.
Once thought of as the stomping ground of the young and still mistakenly considered the exclusive domain of Millennials, social media is where investors carry out research, CEOs interact with customers, movie studios analyze audience demographics, elected officials communicate about legislative issues and global brands let down their guard. We often take it for granted, but social media really is transforming how everyone shares and consumes information.