Social media now king for news

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  • May 31, 2016
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Do you use social media to catch up with all the latest news headlines? If you do, you’re not alone, as a new study has found that social media has surpassed traditional outlets, and is now the go-to place for news.

The findings of the study, which were published by Pew Research Centre last week, show that 62% of Americans get their news from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat.

For its News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016 study, Pew surveyed over 4,600 people and found that Facebook is the number one news source in North America among all social media sites. According to the Pew research, 66% of Americans get their news from Facebook, which has approximately 222 million active monthly users in the US and Canada.

The research comes after Facebook found itself facing some scrutiny recently regarding its Trending Topics. Former Trends contractors accused the social network of filtering out some right-leaning news sources. Facebook denied the allegations, but left some people wondering when soon after it announced that it would change the way in which it filters its Trending Topics.

Pew first conducted a study like this back in 2013, and found then that 47% of people surveyed used Facebook as a source of news. So in just three years, the world’s largest social media network has increased its grip on news by almost 20%.

Interestingly, Pew found that Reddit boasts the largest percentage of users who say they turn to it for news (70%), but as its user base is significantly smaller than Facebook’s, the latter still tops the charts.

Over the past few years, Twitter has remained relatively unchanged, with 52% of its users indicating that they use it for news, which is surprising given its status as top source of information relating to live events.

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer for The Metropolitan Museum, said: “The fact that people are gathering their news from these platforms reminds the media “about the importance of being on various platforms and connecting with them there.”

The study further highlights the importance of having a social media presence in today’s digital news age.

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