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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 14, 2017

Pew: 10% of people cite Facebook as a news source

Is Facebook a news outlet? Yes, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center that found 10% of people in the US cited Facebook when asked to name a news source.

by Helen Leggatt

A study that ran for one week in February last year (2016), involving 2,000 adults in the US. who got at least some of their news from online sources, found that people were equally likely to get news by going directly to a news website (36% of the times they got news) as getting it through social media (35%).

Furthermore, according to Pew, people were "less likely to access news through emails, text messages or search engines. And most people favored one pathway over another. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of online news consumers had one preferred pathway for getting most of their online news".

The news experience that most inspires people to action - such as sharing, searching for more information or talking about the news with others - is when it comes in the form of emails or texts from family and friends, when 73% of instances were acted upon. That's more than news found on social media (53%) or direct visits to a news outlet's website (47%).

Mark Zuckerberg has gone on record to say that he does not consider Facebook to be a traditional news source.

"Facebook is a new kind of platform. It's not a traditional technology company. It's not a traditional media company," he said during a live video chat with Sheryl Sandberg in December last year. "We do a lot more than just distribute the news, and we're an important part of the public discourse."

And that's it in a nutshell. Facebook is a source of news for many people, with many getting news articles from traditional media they have connected with on the social network. So, that 10% of people cite Facebook as a news outlet doesn't necessarily mean they believe Facebook to be a media outlet, it is purely a portal through which they are exposed to media stories.

Tags: media outlet, news gathering, social media, trends

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