Whether they mean to or not, nearly one out of every three Americans (30%) receive their news via the Facebook News Feed according to a new study by Pew Research Center. A whopping 64% of Americans use Facebook and nearly half (47%) responded that they “ever” get news on the social networking site.
Those adults that are only casual or “light” consumers of the news showed higher numbers of Facebook usage for news purposes. Light traditional news users showed a 47% chance that they use Facebook for news while heavy news consumers didn’t rely on the news feed as much with only 38% saying that Facebook was an important way to gather news. Those that use Facebook for news aren’t light users. 49% of Facebook news users gather information on six or more different topics.
Not surprisingly those in the younger demographics (18-29 year olds) rely heavily on Facebook for news. While this demo only makes up 20% of all Facebook users, overall they make up 34% of all of the Facebook news consumers – a telling sign. This age group is more comfortable in gathering information as it comes in, rather than relying on traditional sources.
While this may seem worrisome for traditional media outlets, the study didn’t show any correlation with Facebook news consumers and a drop off in usage for other news outlets, except in the case of newspapers. A Facebook news consumer is 22% less likely to read traditional news papers compared to the overall population.
A nice stat for publishers is that the Facebook news consumers aren’t afraid to click, comment or like links. 64% of users click on the link to view more and 60% comment or like articles. Those users that follow or like a specific new organization or journalist show higher levels of engagement with 16% more engagement and 17% more clicks.
For more information see the full study from Pew Research.