Nearly 62 percent Americans get news from various social media platforms like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter and social networking giant Facebook is leading the pack, according to a new survey.
Facebook is by far the largest social networking site, reaching 67 percent of US adults. The two-thirds of Facebook users who get news there, then, amount to 44 percent of the general population, said the survey from the Pew Research Centre, conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
YouTube has the next greatest reach in terms of general usage, at 48 percent of US adults. But only about a fifth of its users get news there, which amounts to 10 percent of the adult population. That puts it on par with Twitter, which has a smaller user base (16 percent of U.S. adults) but a larger portion getting news there.
The Pew Research Centre analysed the scope and characteristics of social media news consumers across nine social networking sites. They found that Reddit, Facebook and Twitter users most likely to get news on each site.
Two-thirds of Facebook users (66 percent) get news on the site, nearly six-in-10 Twitter users (59 percent) get news on Twitter, and seven-in-10 Reddit users get news on that platform.
On Tumblr, the figure sits at 31 percent while for the other five social networking sites, it is true of only about one-fifth or less of their user bases. Differences also emerge in how active or passive each group of news users is in their online news habits more generally.
"YouTube, Facebook and Instagram news users are more likely to get their news online mostly by chance, when they are online doing other things. Alternatively, the portion of Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn news users who seek out news online is roughly similar to the portion that happen upon it," the survey said.
Instagram, Facebook and YouTube news users most likely to happen upon news online, but LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit news users are more evenly divided between news seekers and non-seekers
A look at the demographic characteristics of news consumers on the five social networking sites with the biggest news audiences shows that, while there is some crossover, each site appeals to a somewhat different group.
"Instagram news consumers stand out from other groups as more likely to be non-white, young and, for all but Facebook, female. LinkedIn news consumers are more likely to have a college degree than news users of the other four platforms; Twitter news users are the second most likely," the findings showed.
Social media news consumers still get news from a variety of other sources and to a fairly consistent degree across sites. For example, across the five sites with the biggest news audiences, roughly two-in-10 news users of each also get news from nightly network television news; about three-in-10 turn to local TV.
One area that saw greater variation was news websites and apps. "Roughly half of Twitter and LinkedIn news consumers also get news from news websites and apps, while that is true of one-third of Facebook and YouTube news users," the survey noted.
In 2012, based on a slightly different question, 49 percent of US adults reported seeing news on social media.