People who get news from Facebook are most likely to get it from friends and family, rather than directly from a news organization they follow, according to the 2012 State of the News Media report released today by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. For Twitter users, though, the news links come from a more even mix of family and friends and news organizations.
Another interesting finding from the report is that Facebook news users see the news they get there as news they might well have gotten someplace else if Facebook did not exist. Those who get news from Twitter, however, feel that without Twitter, they would have missed the news they are getting there.
Here are some of the other most interesting details from the report about how people use Facebook and Twitter for news:
Contrary to what some observers have argued, the rise of social media recommendations at this point does not appear to be coming at the expense of people going directly to news sites or searching for news topics they are interested in. Instead, social media news consumption is supplemental. This expanded behavior also mirrors what we see in the larger report about news consumptions on different digital devices. Smartphones and tablets do not appear to be replacing computers as much as providing additional ways to get news.
For example, fully 71% of those who ever follow news links on Facebook also get news somewhat or very often by going directly to a news organization’s website or app.1 Among Twitter news followers, 76% also go to home pages or use apps from a news organization very or somewhat often. Similarly 65% of Facebook news users get news via key word search very or somewhat often, as do 69% of Twitter news users.
Twitter and Facebook function differently as news sources
On Facebook, the news comes mostly through family and friends. On Twitter, people tend to get news from a broader mix of recommenders.
When asked who sends you most of the news stories you read or watch via Facebook, 70% said friends and family. Another 13% get most of their recommendations from news organizations or individual journalists. And 10% said most of the news they looked at from social media came from non-news entities that recommend news stories. And 7% said they didn’t know. Among Twitter news followers, there is much more of a mix: 36% say they get most of their links from friends and family and while 27% do so from news organizations This group was also almost twice as likely (18% on Twitter vs. 10% on Facebook) to look at news recommended to them by non-news organizations. A greater portion were unsure where most of the news recommendations come from or chose not to answer (19%).
Consumers are more likely to see Facebook news as replaceable
Those who get news via Facebook were more likely to feel the news they received there is news they largely would have gotten elsewhere. A majority, 56%, of those who get news recommendations from Facebook say they think they would have gotten that news from somewhere else. Only a third, 34%, said they would not have seen it otherwise.
On Twitter, with its somewhat broader mix of sources for news links, there was more sense that the news they encountered this way
expanded their knowledge or source list. Twitter users were nearly split between the sense that they would get this news elsewhere (43%) and that they would not (39%).
Men and women responded very differently. Women were more likely to see the news as not special to Twitter (53% versus 30% who said they wouldn’t get it elsewhere). Men were more likely to see it as giving them a unique or broader sense of the news (46% versus 35% who said they would get the news elsewhere).