Nearly one third of Americans who use social media to access news get it from Facebook, with Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp boosting its market share to 45% according to the Pew Research Center
LONDON—Despite negative press and recent Congressional testimony by a whistleblower criticizing Facebook lack of action in stopping misinformation, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that Facebook and its other platforms still dominate the social media landscape for news and information.
The survey, which offers a number of important findings for news organizations planning their social media strategies, found that about 31% of those who regularly get news from social media get it from Facebook, with another 11% of those regular social media users for news getting it from Facebook’s Instagram and 3% from WhatsApp.
That would indicate that Facebook’s various platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) have about a 45% share among those who get news from social media. and
To put those numbers in context, the Pew Research survey also found that the influence of social media as a news outlet remains very important, but is declining.
It’s survey found that “a little under half (48%) of U.S. adults say they get news from social media `often’ or `sometimes,’ a 5 percentage point decline compared with 2020.”
Only 19% got their news from social media “often,” a four percentage point decline from 2020, when 23% did.
In contrast the number of respondents who said they “never” got news from social media rose from 21% in 2020 to 24% in 2021.
Pew asked users of 10 social media sites where they regularly get news on social media and found that about one third of U.S. adults (31%) said they get news regularly on Facebook, followed by YouTube (22%), Twitter (11%), Instagram (11%), Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%), Snapchat (4%), WhatsApp (3%) and Twitch (1%).
The report also noted that “the majority of regular news consumers of many sites are Democrats or lean Democratic. This may be related to the relatively young age profile of the news consumer base of these social media sites. No social media site included here has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republican or lean Republican.”
The Pew Research study was based on a survey of 11,178 adults in the U.S. between July 26 to Aug. 8, 2021.
Additional demographic breakdowns and data is available here.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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