- Two-thirds of Americans say they get at least some of their news from social media, according to a study by Pew Research Center, up from 62% in 2016. The biggest growth came from older consumers with a 10 percentage point jump since last year. Now, 55% of Americans 50 or older get news from social media channels.
- Regular users of Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat are more likely to get news from these platforms, per the study. The percentage of Twitter users getting news from the micro-blogging service grew to 74% this year from 59% in early 2016. For YouTube, the percentage grew to 32% from 21%. For Snapchat, it was 29% compared with 17%.
- Seventy-four percent of non-white Americans get news from social media, Pew found, up from 64% of that group in 2016.
The audience for general news traditionally skewed toward older audiences that brands in the pharmaceutical and financial services industries seek to reach. While social media channels have been more popular among the under-50 age group, their expanded news programming is making their platforms more appealing to older Americans who are becoming increasingly likely to get news from mobile apps.
Due to Facebook's significant user base, which recently hit two billion monthly users, the platform often overlaps with other social networks. Pew found that nearly half of people (48%) who get news from other social media channels also do so from Facebook, which signals an opportunity for news outlets and marketers to better target sponsored content on the platform.
Facebook, which made headlines of its own after an analyst questioned why the company claimed to have audience sizes that exceed the U.S. population, leads every other social media site as a source of news, Pew found. About two-thirds of Americans use Facebook this year, and a majority of those users get news from the site, similar to 2016. That translates into slightly less than half, or 45%, of Americans getting news on Facebook. After a profusion of allegedly fake news stories appeared on the platform during the last U.S. presidential election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to crack down on misleading reporting.
Twitter has grown especially prominent as President Donald Trump uses the platform to make news with almost daily unfiltered tweets that reach people directly. Twitter also spent the year promoting the platform's potential for news publishers. The service plans to start a 24-hour streaming news network produced with financial data provider Bloomberg this fall.