Social media: Changing the way news is consumed

Inaccuracy tops people’s concerns about social media, Pew researchers find.

 

News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018
Pew Research Center
Sept. 10, 2018

Social media is a go-to news resource for Americans, but new research shows those same people question the accuracy of news found there. A Pew Research Center survey found 68 percent of American adults say they at least occasionally get their news from social media. More than half of the people in the study said they expect the news they see on social media to be inaccurate. Convenience is by far the most mentioned benefit of using social media to obtain news and is part of why using social media to get news has become so popular.

This report examines the relationships between age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity in relation to the popularity of social media site usage for news consumption. Notably the majority of news consumers on Instagram are nonwhite. Three-quarters of Snapchat’s news consumers are ages 18 to 29, more than any other site.

Key Numbers

  • About two-thirds of American adults (68 percent) say they at least occasionally get news on social media.
  • The majority (57 percent) say they expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate.
  • 36 percent say getting news on social media has helped them understand current events while 15 percent say it has confused them.
  • About one-third (31 percent) of social media news consumers say inaccuracy is what they dislike most about the experience.

Study Details

  • The study included 4,581 randomly selected U.S. adults.
  • Demographics considered include age, race, ethnicity, political affiliation and education level.