Two In Three Americans Now Access News Via Social Media, Often Multiple Ones

On the heels of Facebook’s disclosure about the active measures Russian operatives have taken to exploit social media for disinformation, the Pew Research Center released findings of an ongoing tracking study showing that two-thirds (67%) of American now get at least some of their news via social media platforms.

While that represents only a modest increase since early 2016 -- the height of the Presidential primaries -- when 62% of Americans reported getting news from social media, the increase is being driven more by greater adoption among older, less educated and nonwhite Americans.

The study, conducted Aug. 8-21 and based on a survey of 4,971 adults, found that, for the first time, more than half (55%) of Americans age 50 and older say they get news from social media outlets. That represents a 10 percentage point increase from Pew’s last survey on the topic in 2016.

And those social media outlets include many more platforms, including some newer and rapidly rising ones.

Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat have grown the most as a source of news.

Instagram, LinkedIn and WhatsApp are also becoming significant sources.

“Not only have Americans grown somewhat in their use of social media for news overall, but now they are more likely than ever to get news from multiple social media sites,” Pew analysts Elisa Shearer and Jeffrey Gottfried write in the report, noting, “About one quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) get news from two or more of these sites, up from 18% in 2016 and 15% in 2013.”

Social media sites as pathways to news
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