Social media platforms have awful reputations and garner little trust from consumers. So that makes them a natural fit for news consumption…? According to the latest study of social media and news from Pew Research, half (50%) of US adults get news from social media either sometimes (33%) or often (17%), compared to 48% last year.
It’s true that news consumption on social media is declining in one aspect: the percentage of adults who said they often get their news from social media has fallen to 17% this year from 19% last year and 23% the year prior.
As expected due to its broad reach, Facebook is the social media site that the largest portion of American adults regularly get news from. Seven in 10 US adults use the platform, with 31% overall regularly getting their news on the site, on par with results from last year. Women (63% share) make up the majority of regular news consumers on Facebook, while by age a plurality (40%) are in the 30-49 bracket.
Beyond Facebook, 1 in 4 (25% of) American adults are regularly getting news on YouTube, though fewer get news regularly on Twitter (14%) and Instagram (13%). Somewhat worryingly given US national security concerns surrounding TikTok, 1 in 10 American adults professes to regularly get news on the platform.
In each case there has been an uptick from last year in the percentage of Americans getting their news from these sites.
That is due more to expanding reach of these platforms as opposed to greater news consumption among their users, though. Indeed, in most cases, a declining share of social media site users regularly get their news through these platforms. For example:
- 53% of Twitter users regularly get news there (the largest share of any platform), but this is down from 59% in 2020
- 44% of Facebook users regularly get news on the platform, down from 54% in 2020
- 37% of Reddit users regularly get news there, down from 42% in 2020
The one platform that very clearly bucks the trend? You guessed it: TikTok. This year, one-third (33%) of TikTok users say they regularly get news on the platform, up from 29% of users last year and 22% the year before. Not surprisingly, the majority (52% share) of adults who regularly get news on the platform are young, ages 18-29.
With the real potential for propaganda on the platform, this is a development worth keeping an eye on.
Read more here.
About the Data: The results are based on a July-August survey of 12,147 US adults (18+).