Over the years, Facebook and Twitter have worked hard to turn their platforms into specially honed places for news: Facebook has spent years tweaking its News Feed to provide the right balance of personal content and that of brands or publishers, while Twitter is always coming up with new features and tools for media (Curator being one recent addition).
It seems all that preening has been put to good use, as a new report from Pew Research Center shows that people use Twitter and Facebook for news now more than ever.
In the report, which surveyed a sample of 2,035 adults, 63 percent of both Twitter and Facebook users get their news from their respective platforms. This is an increase from those surveyed in 2013: just 52 percent of Twitter users and 47 percent of Facebook users reported getting their news from those platforms at that time.
This jump isn’t limited to millennials, either. The under 35 age bracket reported a 12 percent increase, from 55 to 67 percent, while those 35 and older reported a 13 percent increase, from 44 to 61 percent.
To put it in a larger context, Pew’s findings indicate that 41 percent of US adults get news on Facebook, while 10 percent of US adults get it from Twitter.
In no real surprise, the report indicates that Twitter is more commonly used for breaking news and for users to continue following a story as it develops — definitely in-line with Twitter’s image as a place where news actively happens.
But that doesn’t mean users don’t post news onto Facebook. In fact, roughly 28 percent of Facebook users post news “often or sometimes,” compared to 23 percent of Twitter users. They are also more likely to post political content, 32 percent of Facebook users post versus 25 percent of Twitter users.
But Twitter and Facebook remain secondary sources for news: 60 percent of users on both Twitter and Facebook identify it as “not a very important way I get news.”
➤ News Habits on Facebook and Twitter [Pew Research Center]