One-third of U.S. adults get news through Facebook: study

Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:21am EDT
 
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By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - One in three Americans get news through Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center released on Thursday.

Almost 80 percent of those surveyed happen upon news when they are checking up on friends or sharing photos. Heavy news consumers did not describe Facebook as an important source of news, the study found.

"People go to Facebook to share personal moments - and they discover the news almost incidentally," Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at Pew, said in a statement.

The survey is the first part of a series of studies that the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are conducting to examine social media and news consumption.

The study said that about two-thirds of all U.S. adults use Facebook. The world's largest social media site displays a stream where people and publishers can share news. Only 4 percent of Facebook news consumers said the platform is the most important way they obtain their news.

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in how people find news. The trend is especially pronounced among young people who prefer to get news through platforms like Twitter or Facebook rather than traditional forms of print or broadcast television.

In an earlier study, Pew found that 34 percent of people aged 18 to 24 consume news through social media compared with 10 percent of adults between the ages of 50 to 64.

The current Pew study found that adults aged 18 to 29 account for a third of Facebook news consumers.   Continued...

 
An illustration picture shows the log-on screen for the website Facebook, in Munich February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Dalder