A Pew Research into trust in the US media offers some insights into the impact of social media in the news diet of Americans.
Pew found that just over a quarter (27%) of adults say they regularly or sometimes get news or news headlines through Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. This rises to 38% for younger adults.
These figures applies to all the 1,501 people surveyed. Digging deeper into the stats, only 44% said they were regular users of social networking sites.
As a result, the sample size of social media users is 660 people. It stands to reason that the people who said they get news on social networks would just be drawn from the 660 social media users.
In this case, the percentage of social media users who get their news through Facebook or Twitter rises to 61%.
By comparison, a 2010 survey of Canadian news habits I was involved with found that 42% of social media users say they get some of their news on a daily basis from sites like Facebook.
In the study, we found that the more people used social media, the more likely they were to turn to it as a source of news.
Our Canadian study didn’t look at where people were getting their news from on social media.
But Pew found that the majority of people (72%) said they mostly get the same news and information on social media that they would get elsewhere.
The most common reason for turning to social media for news was convenience, cited by 20%. By comparison, 18% cited variety and 12% quality.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press concludes that “social networking has expanded the ways in which the public gets news and information.”