New comScore figures about Internet usage in Europe today seem to show an increase in Facebook’s importance for sharing links to news stories amongst its users.

There has been a notable increase in the percentage of visits to the top five newspaper websites in Europe that were preceded by a visit to Facebook. The data, taken from November 2011, shows the biggest such leap for Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper (9% year-on-year), with the UK’s Guardian close behind with an 8.2% increase.

comScore has no way of telling how many of these newspaper site visits were caused by users clicking links shared on Facebook and how many were simply users choosing to visit a newspaper site next. However, as the analysis company notes, it highlights “both Facebook’s growing prominence in the European Web landscape and its increasing ability to drive referral traffic. ”

Amongst European newspaper sites, The Daily Mail’s MailOnline, which is now expanding to target India, maintained the top spot for traffic, with 20,068,000 unique vistors. The Guardian, Turkey’s Hurriyet, Germany’s Bild, took second, third and fourth place respectively, with Milliyet at number five. The Guardian’s placement is interesting, seeing as its Facebook app actually serves articles up within Facebook itself instead of sending users to the Guardian site.

In total, comScore found that 379.4 million Europeans went online in November 2011 for an average of 27.8 hours per person. 47.8% of them visited a newspaper website.

Screen Shot 2012 01 19 at 12.17.35 Facebook seems to be driving increasing traffic to newspaper sites in Europe: comScore