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Social media now more dominant than traditional media as a source for news


By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

May 30, 2016 | 3 min read

Traditional media outlets must shift their focus to social media platforms in order to more effectively reach readers, according to a new study by Pew Research Center which shows Facebook is now the dominant source for news.

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The ‘News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016’ report found that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat have emerged as the go-to sources for news.

Having surveyed over 4,600 people Pew found that 62 per cent of Americans rely more on the social media platforms for news that they do traditional media.

Facebook, which has around 222 million monthly active users across the US and Canada, emerged as the number one source with 66 per cent of those questioned admitting that they use the platform for consuming news.

News on Facebook has been a source of controversy recently after Trends contractors accused the social media giant of filtering out some right-leaning news sources. Facebook denied the accusations before announcing that it would change how it filters Trending Topics.

When compared to Pew’s 2013 study of the same research Facebook has saw the biggest jump in news consumption growing from 47 per cent in 2013 to 66 per cent in 2016.

Across all social media platforms Reddit has the largest percentage of users who rely on it for news at 70 per cent, however its user base is significantly smaller than Facebook’s.

Twitter has remained largely unchanged in terms of its reputation as a go-to news source with just over half (52 per cent) saying they turn to the micro-blogging platform for news.

Discussing the findings social media expert, Sree Sreenivasan, 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.”

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