Facebook, Twitter Become Go-To News Sources in U.S.

The number of people in the U.S. who get their news from Facebook and Twitter has risen dramatically over the past two years, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. Released yesterday, the report found that this trend cuts across all demographics, although there are notable differences between how people use the two social media sites.

Sixty-three percent of users on both Facebook and Twitter said those sites provide a source of news beyond updates from friends and family. Those figures are up considerably from Pew's last survey in 2013, when 52 percent of Twitter users and 47 percent of Facebook users said they turned to those sites for news. The study was conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and was based on surveys of more than 2,000 people during two weekends in March.

Given Twitter's strength in providing second-by-second updates for trending topics, it's no surprise that the site appeals to nearly twice as many users (59 percent) as does Facebook (31 percent) when it comes to following breaking news. Pew noted that this latest survey also comes out at a time when both Facebook and Twitter are expanding their emphasis on news.

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"These changes can be tied to many factors including personal behavior, increased activity by news organizations, as well as changes in the platforms' filtering algorithms or content structures," the study noted.

While overall usage of both Facebook and Twitter has remained steady, the proportion of users to get their news from those sites has grown. With 17 percent of U.S. adults using Twitter and 66 percent using Facebook, one in 10 Americans now gets news via Twitter while four in 10 turn to Facebook for news. There's also considerable overlap among...

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