Social media now the key driver for news in US — report

15 Jul 2015

More and more Americans are getting their news from Twitter and Facebook as the newsfeed consumer model continues to change in front of our very eyes.

A couple of years ago the Pew Research Centre reported that around half of American users of both platforms got their news from there.

Now it has rocketed up, with 63pc of both Twitter and Facebook users now reading the news from their feeds.

It doesn’t reflect a rise in people using social media, rather a rise in those already using social media. This means that both Twitter and Facebook are providing more and more appealing ways to stay on their platforms.

Responding to their market

Twitter dominates breaking news (in comparison to Facebook, almost double its users rely on it for this) while Facebook enjoys a better rate of interaction.

This is pretty obvious when looking at both formats, with Facebook’s feed posing a more attractive service with regards to collective people commenting on stories.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s strong point has always been its immediacy, thus the appeal of breaking news.

It will be interesting to see how all of this changes in the coming months. Twitter is due to release its Project Lightning service, which will see in-house curators monitor a live news feed.

For its part, Facebook has already launched its Instant Articles service, allowing publishers to post stories directly onto its site — including interactive features like videos and maps — without users having to leave the social media platform.

A faster, richer experience

“As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook,” explained Michael Reckhow, product manager at Facebook, at the time.

There are also things like Twitter’s partnership with Periscope and Facebook’s remodelled ‘trending’ sidebar.

Interestingly, the demographical breakdown of those now relying on social media for their news is pretty even across the board.

Use of Twitter for news, for example, grew among both users under 35 (55pc to 67pc) and those aged 35 and older (47pc to 59pc). And on Facebook, using it for news grew among both men (44pc to 61pc) and women (49pc to 65pc).

Main image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic