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10 Ways Facebook is Improving the Way You Get News

by Jane Susskind, published
With over 1.1 billion users, Facebook has become a popular medium through which we share news.

Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation found that about half of adult Facebook users, 47 percent, get news there. That is equal to 30 percent of the U.S. population.

With almost a third of the population seeing at least some news on Facebook, whether it's intentional or not, what do we really know about news on Facebook?

1. How We Engage: 43 percent of Facebook news consumers post or share links to news stories on the network, with 32% of all Facebook news consumers discussing news with others Facebook.

2. More Time on Facebook Means More News: 67 percent of Facebook users who spend about an hour a day get news there compared with only 41% of those who spend less than an hour a day on the site.

3. Your Political Affiliation Matters on Facebook: Those with a political party affiliation are more likely to say they prefer news that shares their own point of view. From the report:

"Among U.S. adults overall, about a third of Republicans (33%) and Democrats (30%) like news this way, compared with 19% of independents. That pattern also is true among Facebook news consumers; among this group, 36% of Republicans, 34% of Democrats and just 24% of independents say they like news that mostly shares their own point of view."

4. We're Not All News-Seekers: In fact, the majority (78%) of people who consume news on Facebook get it while they are on the site for other reasons.

5. Millennials 'Like' Getting News on Facebook: Young people (18- to 29– year-olds) account for about a third, 34 percent, of Facebook news consumers. This is in line with previous Pew findings that younger adults are much more likely to be politically active on social networking sites.

6. News Consumption is Not Limited to One Topic: About half, 49 percent, of Facebook news consumers report regularly getting news on six or more different topics, with the most popular topic entertainment, with community news a close second.

7.  Mobile vs. Desktop: While mobile access to Facebook is growing, Facebook news consumers' primary device for access is still a desktop/laptop: 53 percent desktop/laptop versus 46 percent mobile.

8. Families and Friends Matter: Only 34 percent of Facebook news consumers have "liked" news organizations or journalists, thereby placing news in their news feed.

"That means, then, that two-thirds of people who get news on Facebook have it passed along to them second, third or twentieth hand from their Facebook friends – rather than directly from news organizations," Pew reports. 

9.  Getting To Know Your Friends: 58 percent of Facebook news consumers have been surprised by a friend’s or family member’s political views posted on Facebook.

10. Why We Post: The most common reason why members of this group post news links is to pass along information they think is important for people to know.

What's your reason for posting news on Facebook?


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