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Pew: Sizable Portion of U.S. Use Social Media for News

Facebook sign at HQ
(Image credit: Facebook)

Despite growing concerns about the amount of misleading information on social media, almost one-third of Americans surveyed get news from Facebook and a sizable number from other sites.

That is according to a new Pew Research Center survey of users of 10 prominent social media sites.

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Next most newsy was YouTube, with 22% of respondents saying they get news there, followed by Twitter at 13%, Instagram at 11% and Reddit at 7%.

Rounding out the news usage of the other five sites survey respondents were asked about were TikTok, 6%; LinkedIn, 4%; Snapchat, 4%; WhatsApp, 3% and Twitch, 1%.

The survey found that “a sizable portion” of U.S. adults (48%) say they get news “sometimes” or “often” from social media sites.

Pew found some demographic differences in online news consumption. White adults make up the majority of regular news consumers of Facebook (60%) and Reddit (54%), while only 36% of Instagram news consumers were white. Facebook also skews female, with women comprising 64% of regular news consumers versus 33% for men.

There is a also a definite political skew for social media, with the majority of news consumers being Democrats and Democratic leaners. Pew said that may be because social-media news consumers are relatively young. None of the 10 sites surveyed has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republican or lean Republican.

The study was based on a survey conducted from July 26 to Aug. 8, 2021, among 11,178 U.S. adults who are part of the center’s American Trends Panel. The report also explores how often Americans are turning to social media for news compared to 2020.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.