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Facebook & Twitter Gaining Importance As Important News Sources

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Twitter & Facebook, go almost parallel when it comes to the comparison regarding which social media platform is mostly used and serves the best to it’s users. Both Facebook & Twitter, has different usage techniques which users are accustomed to. For the entire populace, life has become almost non-happening without these two social media giants.

Facts about Facebook & Twitter usage among Americans

More and more Americans are turning to Facebook and Twitter as a source of news about current events, even as they do not regard the social networks as important news sources. A new study conducted by the Pew Research Foundation shows 63 percent of Facebook and Twitter users are increasingly getting their news for “events and issues outside of family and friends” from both platforms, even as 60 percent of users of both websites say they do not regard them as an important way to get the news. The number is a good increase from the 47 percent of Facebook users and 52 percent of Twitter users who told Pew that they get their news from the websites in 2013.

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Overall, a huge portion of users who get their news from Facebook and Twitter are composed of millennials, with Pew saying that use of social media as a news source rose from 55 percent to 67 percent within this age range. It is not just the young ones, though, as Pew also reported an increase from 44 percent to 61 percent in users aged 35 and above.

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Given Twitter’s focus on real-time events, more Twitter users use the micro-blogging platform to get the scoop on breaking news and live events. Twitter users are also more likely to get news about national government and politics, international affairs, business and sports, while other topics are comparable on both platforms. It is also more common for people to follow news outlets directly than on Facebook, while more Facebook users, some 32 percent, post and comment about government and politics than the 25 percent who do on Twitter.

The report comes as a piece of good news for Facebook and Twitter, which are both trying to establish themselves as legitimate content platforms, not content publishers, on which news stories are published by third-party providers. Facebook lately launched Instant Articles, which publishes news stories in people’s News Feeds as a way to keep them stay longer on the site, while Twitter has live-streaming app Periscope and the upcoming Project Lightning to offer human-curated live event feeds. But as social media grows as a preferred news source, the influence of websites such as Facebook and Twitter grows. “As social networking sites recognize and adapt to their role in the news environment, each will offer unique features,” says Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at Pew Research Center. “These different ways of connecting with news have implications for how Americans learn about the world and their communities, and for how they take part in the democratic process.”

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The proportions who get news, combined with the total reach of a site, show how many U.S. adults are learning about events and issues through each social networking site. Facebook is by far the largest social networking site among U.S. adults, and with half of its users getting news there, is also the largest among U.S. adults when it comes to getting news. As discussed in an earlier report, roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use the site, and half of those users get news there—amounting to 30% of the general population. Thus, even though only a fifth of its users get news there, that amounts to 10% of the adult population, which puts it on par with Twitter. Twitter reaches just 16% of U.S. adults, but half (8% of U.S. adults) use it for news.

Audience Overlap

A look at the five social networking sites with the biggest news audiences shows that a majority of news consumers on those sites (65%) get news from just one, and for 85% of those, it is Facebook. About a quarter (26%) gets news on two of those sites. And 9% get news on at least three. For those who get news on multiple social networking sites, Facebook is likely to be one of the ones they use. More than half of adults who get news on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube also get news on Facebook. Aside from that, the shared audience between these sites is relatively small.

Social New Consumers

A look at the demographic characteristics of news consumers on the five social networking sites shows that, while there is some cross-over, each site appeals to a somewhat different group.  LinkedIn news consumers stand out from other groups as more likely to be high earners and college educated. Twitter news consumers are significantly younger than news consumers on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. And Facebook news consumers are significantly more likely to be female than news consumers on YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. News consumers for each social networking website are defined as those who answered that they “ever get news or news headlines on ‘name of website’.” News is defined as “information about events and issues that involve more than just your friends or family.”

Other New Platforms

Social media news consumers still get news from a variety of other sources and, in some cases, even more so than the general public does. YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus news consumers are more likely than Facebook and Twitter news consumers to watch cable news. Twitter news consumers are among the least likely to turn to local and cable TV. And nearly four-in-ten LinkedIn news consumers listen to news on the radio, compared to about a quarter of the general population.

Image Credits : cybermusic.com, socialmediatoday.com, journalism.org

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