More Americans are getting their news from TikTok, Instagram and Twitch, while the numbers are falling for Facebook and X, a new study from the Pew Research Center found.
About half of all U.S. adults use some form of social media for news, including 19% who seek updates on their feeds “often,” and 31% who use them “sometimes.”
The overall numbers were basically flat from 2022, when 50% of U.S. adults said they used social for news, though they show a slight uptick, from 17%, for those who use social for news “often” and a slight downtrend, from 33% of those who used it “sometimes.”
Just 31% said they “never” use social for news, up from 29% last year, the Pew study found in surveying 8,842 U.S. adults online from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
Some social sites are more apt to draw users looking for headlines. The survey found that 52% of X users, for example, rely on the site for news. That was flat with last year, before Elon Musk changed the name of the site then known as Twitter, but down from 59% in 2020,
Similarly, the portion of Facebook users who seek news on the platform fell to 43% from 44% in 2022 and 54% in 2020.
It’s worth noting that 2020 was news-driven year, as Americans sought information about the Covid-19 pandemic and the presidential election. In the years since, most sites have seen fewer users turn to them for news.
TikTok was the most significant exception. This year, 14% of all U.S. adults said they use the Chinese-owned short video platform for news, up from about 10% last year and just 3% in 2020.
Among adults, unsurprisingly, those ages 18 to 29 are most likely to say they regularly get news on TikTok.
Pew found that among regular TikTok users, the numbers are far greater: 43% say they get news on the platform, up from about 33% last year and nearly double the 22% in 2020.
Late last year, a separate study from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report found that while news on TikTok is mostly generated by influencers and activists, about 75% of US news outlets are also regularly publishing content on the platform.
The Pew study also found a sharp rise in users seeking news on Instagram, where about 34% of regular users go to look for updates. That’s up from about 29% last year and 28% in 2020.
YouTube’s numbers were basically flat, with about 32% of users seeking news on the site, edging up from 31% last year to return to the level it saw in 2020.
The professional networking site LinkedIn has also seen an uptick, with 17% of users heading there for news, compared with 14% last year and 15% in 2020.
Likewise, 17% of Twitch users were looking for news, up from 12% last year.
Also among the more notable increases, 28% of users of the neighborhood-focused site NextDoor now seek news there, up from 23% last year, the first time Pew included it in its annual survey.
The growing popularity of NextDoor could reflect the increasingly sparse local news environment as smaller news outlets around the country shrink.
Pew found that women and those who identify as Democrats are more likely to use social media for news. “No social media site included here has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republicans or lean Republican, though there is no significant partisan difference among news consumers on Facebook, X or Nextdoor,” the study said.
Among all U.S. adults, Facebook remains on top of the heap, with 30% saying they “regularly” get news there. YouTube, which hosts videos from mainstream news outlets along with independent programs, is second, with 26%. Instagram is third, with 16% and TikTok fourth, with 14%.
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