Study Illustrates Facebook’s Growth as Campaign News Source

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton voters had different media diets, but a study finds common ground in Facebook as an important news source -- even if their individual feeds bore little resemblance to each other's.

Facebook was the top non-television source for election news cited by supporters of both candidates, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The social media site's import as a driver of political news has been underscored by the lingering controversy of people using it to spread false news stories.

Eight percent of Clinton voters and 7 percent of Trump voters named Facebook as their main source of election news, Pew said.

"That was a pretty important finding," said Jeffrey Gottfried, senior researcher at the Washington-based think tank.

Facebook doesn't produce news; members share stories from a multitude of sources and their news feeds tend to reflect the politics of their Facebook friends.

With a multitude of web sites serving fake news stories with no basis in fact, Facebook announced last month that it would partner with outside fact-checkers to flag particularly egregious examples that are spread on the social media site.

While other digital brands like Breitbart News, BuzzFeed, the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post received plenty of publicity during the campaign, they received little attention from the voters surveyed by Pew.

Forty percent of Trump voters cited Fox News Channel as their main source of campaign news, the winner by a huge margin. The second most-cited news source by Trump supporters was CNN, with 8 percent.

"This is very much on par with previous research we have done," Gottfriend said. Pew didn't ask similar questions after past campaigns, but in a 2014 survey, 47 percent of conservatives cited Fox as their top news source, he said.

The finding shows Fox's continued strength with conservative voters, and likely explains why the...

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