Over the past year, the number of Americans who receive at least some of their news on social media sites has gone from 62% in 2016 to 67 % in 2017.
The findings are part of a telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, surveying 4,971 Americans to determine the social media sites to which they turn most often for news content.
Because of its global reach, Facebook is the most popular social platform for American adults who receive news from a social media site. With 66% of Americans using Facebook, Pew Research Center claims that 45% of US adults get at least some of their news on the site.
The survey found that of the 45% who turn to Facebook for news content, half claim that it's the only social platform they use for news .
As a result of Facebook, the second largest social media site for the news was YouTube, with 18% of Americans receiving their news from Google's video platform.
Due to its smaller user base, Twitter ranks third in terms of social sites where Americans receive news. With 15% of Americans on Twitter, the report reveals that 11% receive news from the social platform.
"In 2017, the user base and the news sharing on YouTube grew, with 18% of all Americans receiving news on YouTube," says Pew Research Center. "Twitter has the structure YouTube's reverse: While a lot of its users are getting news on the site (74 percent say they're doing it), its audience is significantly lower overall. "
Social Media Sites as Pathways to News: US Adults Use Social Platforms Compared to Those Who Receive News From Each Site:
Pew Research Center revealed that 26% of survey participants reported receiving news from two or more social media sites – up from 18% in 2016. The report found that the platforms social with a smaller number of users users receiving news from multiple social sites.
"In general sites with a smaller number of users also tend to have the most overlap with other social media sites for news," says the Pew Research Center. The report revealed that half of the people who receive news on LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp also receive news from three or more other social media sites.
Reddit was an exception to this rule: "Only four percent of US adults receive news from this site, and of those users, only 38 percent use three or more social media sites for news."
The Pew Research Center analyzed the results of its investigation to determine the overlap between social platforms used for news. Unsurprisingly, audience overlap was more common among smaller sites with users who also visit Facebook and YouTube for news.
Recap of audience of users receiving news from several social platforms:
The Pew Research Center attributes the growth of 62 to 67% of the number of people turning to social media to three specific demographic groups: people over 50; non-white; and those without a bachelor's degree.
"For the first time in the Center's surveys, more than half (55%) of Americans aged 50 and over report news on social media sites," reports The Pew Research Center. 45 percent who said so in 2016. "
There was also a 10 percentage point increase for non-whites receiving news from social platforms, from 64% in 2016 to 74% in 2017. The number of Americans without a bachelor's degree also receiving news of social sites has increased from 60% last year to 69% this year.
"Although a slight overall increase, this growth is driven by more substantial increases among Americans who are older, less educated and non-white," the report says.
The Pew Research Center also noted that getting news on social media platforms did not necessarily mean that other more traditional media were being ignored.
"News users on Twitter, for example, are more likely to receive news through websites and apps than Facebook or YouTube users," the Pew Center says in its report. "Facebook users are more likely to receive news from local TV than those from YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat."
Another distinction should be made about the distribution of information content through social platforms as opposed to the information content itself. It's worth mentioning that while people are getting more of their news from social platforms, news headlines are still coming out of the news websites. Whether this content results in a click on the original news site – or how much remain as part of the social media platform, as a Facebook instant article – is another measure entirely.