Commentary

Smaller News Audience On Social Media Is Likely Cyclical

The portion of Americans who said they get their news from social media slipped in the past year, a study found. The decline is likely tied to the election cycle, though the coronavirus pandemic isn’t stoking the same public fears as it did in 2020.
About half (48%) of U.S. adults said they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” a decline of 5 points from last year, according to Pew Research Center. The percentage of people who said they never see news on social media rose from 21% to 24% in the past year.
Facebook is the biggest source of news, with 66% of respondents saying they use the social network and 31% indicating they regularly get news on the social network, down from 36% in 2020. Almost three quarters (72%) of Americans use YouTube, but only 22% of people get their news from the video-sharing site.
After Facebook and YouTube, the most popular sources of news are Twitter (13%), Instagram (11%), Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%) and Snapchat (4%).
While Twitter is less popular than Facebook and YouTube, the micro-blogging platform’s audience is mostly likely to consist of news consumers. More than half (55%) of Twitter’s users said they regularly get news from its site, ahead of Facebook (47%), Reddit (39%), YouTube (30%), TikTok (29%), Instagram (27%), Snapchat (16%) and LinkedIn (14%).
Pew also found significant differences in the demographic characteristics of social media news consumers. Snapchat and TikTok are especially popular with younger adults. Almost two-thirds (63%) of Snapchat’s users ages 18 to 29 said they get news from the photo-messaging app, compared with 16% of all age groups. More than half (52%) of TikTok users in that age cohort get news from the social video app, compared with 29% of all ages.
Facebook is most popular among White adults, with 60% of the social network’s users getting news from its site, ahead of Reddit (54%) and YouTube (46%). Black adults tended to get news from Snapchat (21%), Instagram (20%), TikTok (18%) and LinkedIn (18%). Among Hispanics, the most popular social media sites for news were Snapchat (37%), TikTok (34%) and Instagram (33%).
News consumption is stable on social media, despite the declines from a year ago. With the approach of next year’s midterm elections and campaign spending to raise awareness among voters, it’s likely that more Americans will get their news from sites including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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2 comments about "Smaller News Audience On Social Media Is Likely Cyclical".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, September 21, 2021 at 4:45 p.m.

    Hi Rob, I tend to think that the 5 percent shift went to the TV for there news. The reasoning is more people worked from home and watch more TV because of the virus. Also, there was a large amount of people who were on unemployment during the past year.

  2. Robert Williams from MediaPost replied, September 22, 2021 at 7:59 a.m.

    Craig,
    Yes, that's a good point!
    Thanks,
    Rob

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