Social media apps are the go-to news source for 51% of people

Andy Boxall

In App Data

September 11, 2017

Social media apps are becoming more popular as a source of news. In the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report for 2017, it’s shown 51% of people in the United States get news via social media, up by 5% over last year, and twice as many as in 2013.

Print-based news sources have seen the biggest decline over the same period of time, while TV news has remained relatively steady. Online sources as a whole have seen a slightly uptick in the last twelve months.

In the report, the Reuters Institute writes:

“The biggest change has been the growth of news accessed via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In the United States, social media became a key player in the story of the election.”

However, while popularity has increased, only 2% solely get their news from social media in the average week, with 67% also getting it from television, and 66% visiting other online news sites.

The Digital News Report shows how news is consumed by age group.

Using online news sites, including social media, as a news source is most popular with those aged between 18 and 24 years old, with 64% saying online news has been the prime source in the past week. For the over 55s, the number drops to 28%.

Messaging apps are also used as news sources

Facebook is the most popular social network for news, with 47% saying it’s used for that purpose, followed by YouTube with 22%, Instagram with 6%, and Twitter with 10%. Messaging apps are also popular for news, with 23% saying a messaging app is used once a week for news discovery. WhatsApp is the top choice, with 15%, followed by Facebook Messenger with 8%.