Facebook Users Come For Social, Get News En Route

Half of Facebook’s roughly 1.2 billion users get news from the site, even though they don’t go there for that purpose, according to a new Pew Research Journalism Project report.

“People bump into [news] when they are there doing other things,” Amy Mitchell, director of Journalism Research for the Pew Research Center and head of the center’s Journalism Project, writes in the report.

“This bumping into means there may be opportunity for news to reach people who might otherwise have missed it, but less of that may be in the hands of news organizations,” according to Mitchell.

In fact, only about a third of people who get news on Facebook follow a news organization or individual journalist, Pew finds. More concerning for news publishers, Pew found that Facebook’s accidental news consumers have low levels of engagement with dedicated news sites.

“For news providers, this means that a single digital strategy -- both in terms of capturing audience and building a viable revenue base -- will not be enough,” Mitchell writes.

The report -- part of the “State of the News Media 2014” -- found that Facebook users who get news at the highest rates are 18-to-29-year-olds.

Overall, whether they process the content or not, nearly 80% of Facebook users report coming into contact with some kind of news whenever they are on the site.

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