Facebook becoming a key player in news

Oct 24, 2013 by Rob Lever
A view of an Apple iPad and iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC

Facebook is becoming a key source of news for users of the huge social network, even if people discover articles mostly by happenstance, a study showed Thursday.

The study by the Pew Research Center, in collaboration with the Knight Foundation, found 64 percent of US adults use Facebook, and nearly half of those get some news from the service. (Phys.org's FB page is at https://www..com/physorg )

That amounts to 30 percent of the overall US population who are "Facebook ," Pew said.

But the survey found 78 percent of this group get news mainly when they are on Facebook for other reasons, such as checking on friends or sharing photos.

"People go to Facebook to share personal moments—and they discover the news almost incidentally," said Amy Mitchell, Pew Research Center's director of journalism research.

"The serendipitous nature of news on Facebook may actually increase its importance as a source of news and information, especially among those who do not follow the news closely."

Most heavy news consumers do not describe Facebook as their main source of information on current affairs:

Some 38 percent of Facebook news consumers who say they follow the news "all" or "most of the time" describe the social network as an important way they get news. But that number rises to 47 percent among those who say they follow news just "some of the time" or less.

Those in the 18- to 29- year-old age bracket account for about a third of Facebook news consumers. These younger adults often turn to the social network for breaking news and see the site as important a source of news.

The study authors write that Facebook "exposes some people to news who otherwise might not get it" by delivering news through shared links from friends.

"This study adds to our understanding of the way social media is transforming how news is shared and consumed," said Mayur Patel, Knight Foundation vice president.

"The implications for media organizations are significant—through the data they can gain insights on the behavior and preferences of the people they are trying to reach, and identify new engagement opportunities."

Roughly two-thirds of Facebook news consumers say they at least sometimes click on news links, and 60 percent at least sometimes "like" or comment on stories, the researchers found.

About four in 10 post or share links themselves at least sometimes, and 32 percent discuss issues in the news with other people on Facebook, the survey found.

The study found Facebook users click on a news link most often because of their interest in the topic or a friend's recommendation, and just 20 percent said they did so because of the news organization.

About a third of Facebook news consumers have news organizations or individual journalists in their feeds, Pew found.

The researchers also found that Facebook users are also consuming news on other platforms. Some 42 percent of Facebook news consumers often watch local television , compared with 46 percent of all US adults. But just 21 percent often read print newspapers, compared with 27 percent of the population overall, Pew found.

The researchers interviewed 5,173 US adults including 3,268 Facebook users from August 21 to September 2, 2013.

Explore further: Media outlets urged to 'Share Stories' at Facebook

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

21 hours ago

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

Aug 22, 2014

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0