News

A third of Americans get their news from Facebook

A third of Americans get their news from Facebook

FACEBOOK FRIENDS: More Americans are getting their news from Facebook than ever before. Photo: Reuters

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.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all experimenting with ways to aggregate and share news as a way to keep people coming back to their platforms. On Monday, Facebook said that referral traffic to publishers’ sites increased 170 percent through the past year.

Facebook users are not discriminating when it comes to the source of news – 70 percent click on news stories because of interest in the topic. Only 20 percent said they read a story based on the news organization.

The survey was conducted Aug. 21 through Sept. 2 among 5,173 U.S. adults including Facebook users.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Lee Daniels wants Denzel on ‘Empire’

Fresh
denzel

The Hollywood moviemaker wants the Oscar winner to join the cast for a cameo appearance.

in Music

Taylor Swift trademarks ‘1989’ phrases

Fresh
Singer Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" to promote her new album "1989" in New York, October 30, 2014.

You can't use "This Sick Beat" or "Cause We Never Go Out Of Style" without the pop star's permission.

in Music

Sam Smith hopes to lose Grammy to Beyoncé

Fresh
samsmith

The breakout star's debut record, "In The Lonely Hour," is nominated for Album of the Year.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ ending after 6 seasons

Fresh
downton

The period drama, which was first broadcast in 2010, will reportedly draw to a close this year.

in Entertainment

Not so fast Lindsay: Lohan’s ‘community service’ challenged

Actress Lindsay Lohan addresses reporters during a news conference at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, in Park City, Utah. Producer Randall Emmett and Lohan announced the forthcoming production of a new film, "Inconceivable," in which Lohan will star and co-produce.

Officials are investigating whether the actress claimed a "meet-and-greet" with fans as part of her court-ordered community service.