Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62%) get news from social media at least occasionally, up from 49% in 2012, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who polled 4,654 respondents in January and February of this year.
In the latest survey, 18% said they get news from social media “often,” 26% “sometimes,” and 18% “hardly ever,” while 38% said they never get news from that source.
Asked about specific social media sites, 66% of Facebook users said they get news from the world’s largest social network, just behind Reddit, which is a news source for 70% of it users. 59% of Twitter users and 31% of Tumblr users gets news from those sites, followed by Instagram at 23% and YouTube at 21%. Further down the totem pole, 19% of LinkedIn users get news from the professional network, along with 17% of Snapchat users and 14% of Vine users.
Crunching the numbers, 44% of all Americans get news on Facebook, compared to just 10% for YouTube, 9% for Twitter, 4% for Instagram, 4% for LinkedIn, 2% for Reddit and 2% for Snapchat.
Pew found surprisingly little evidence of overlap between social media as news sources, with 64% of respondents saying they get news from just one social site. A smaller proportion, 26%, said they get news from two social sites, and just 10% said they get news from three or more sites.
Women were generally more likely to get news from social media than men, although results varied by site. Among Facebook users who also get news there, 57% were women and 43% were men – but for YouTube the proportions were precisely reversed. Twitter users who get news from the site were also more likely to be women, at 53% to 47%, and Instagram users who get news from the site skewed even more heavily female, at 65% to 35%. However, LinkedIn users who get news from the site skewed more male, 56% to 44%.