Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used as sources of news, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
The research found that 63% of Twitter and Facebook users now use the social media sites as news sources, up from around 50% in 2013 (the most recent data were collected in March 2015).
Twitter and Facebook have both invested in the news aspects of their operations recently. Twitter has debuted the live video-streaming app Periscope that was quickly picked up and used by journalists, and Facebook has introduced a “Trending Now” sidebar that shows users what’s being discussed most and lets them sort posts by popular topics. Plus, Twitter is on the cusp of introducing Project Lightning, a new initiative that will curate news around live events, including breaking news.
The Pew report found that Twitter’s users follow breaking news on the site at almost double the rate that Facebook users do. Twitter users also see stories about international affairs, national government and politics, business, and sports more frequently than those on Facebook.
Still, for most people on social media, neither Facebook nor Twitter is terribly important for their news consumption. Just 4% of Facebook users and 8% of Twitter users call their platform “the most important way I get news.” However, if Twitter and Facebook have any say in the matter, those numbers might start to increase.
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