Americans, according to the newest research from Pew, are increasingly likely to seek their news out on social media. Around a quarter of American adults — 26 percent, to be exact — report that they take the bulk of their news from at least two social media sites. That’s an 11 percent increase from just four years ago — and a 7 percent jump from last year, when that figure was 18 percent.
Facebook — unsurprisingly, given its size — is the power player in the field, with 45 percent of Americans reporting getting news from the site. Of that 45 percent, a full half report they only get news from Facebook. Around 30 percent of those surveyed report getting their news from two social networks, and about 20 percent reported taking news from three or more social media networks.
Reddit is only 4 percent of consumers’ home for news — but of that 4 percent, 25 percent only use Reddit for news — a disturbing prospect for anyone who has spent any time reading Reddit.
YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn users were by and large multiple platform users.
“Finer differences emerge in which sites share news users. Looking at sites that share at least 25 percent of their news users with another site, audience overlap most commonly exists among news users of smaller sites who also visit Facebook and/or YouTube for news, the two sites with the most news users overall,” writes Elizabeth Grieco, senior writer and editor at the Pew Research Center.
“About half or more news users of each of the other sites studied also get news on Facebook, while about a quarter or more overlap on YouTube. Four of the sites have considerable overlap with Twitter: Roughly a third or more of news users of Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Reddit also get news on Twitter.”
Age was a highly relevant factor to choosing a news source — those under the age of 50 were 77 percent of the cohort that takes its news from multiple social media sites, with 37 percent of that group being between the ages of 18 and 29. Users under 50 were also less likely to rely on a single social media stream for data (56 percent) while only 18 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds are social media monogamists when it comes to news.
The report comes as social networks are under fire for not doing enough to stop the spread of false or misleading information during the 2016 election.