In a new report, Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released the results of a recent study which found that the vast majority of U.S. adults don’t visit Facebook to find news. Instead, they consume news as a byproduct of their other Facebook activities. The research revealed that 78% of U.S. adults get news when they’re on Facebook incidentally, not intentionally.
Analyzing the data from a broad view of the overall U.S. adult population, the report explains that while 64% of U.S. adults use Facebook, only 30% of U.S. adults get news on Facebook. That equates to 47% of adult Facebook users. In fact, only 4% of respondents to this research survey stated that Facebook is the most important way that they get news.
As you might expect, the study revealed that the more time a person spends on Facebook, the more likely they are to get news on the site. The research also found that only 28% of Facebook news consumers have ever turned to the site to get information about breaking news. Again, Facebook is very much an incidental news consumption tool. It also hasn’t replaced news consumption through traditional news sources for U.S. adults.
Another finding that won’t surprise you is that younger Facebook users are more likely to get news from the site than older Facebook users. However, a finding that might surprise you is that most U.S. adults still access Facebook using a desktop or laptop computer (88%) rather than a smartphone (53%) or tablet (28%). While mobile users typically check Facebook multiple times per day, desktop and laptop users actually spend more time on Facebook overall each day than mobile users.
To put this data in perspective, it’s important to note the types of news that U.S. adults consume on Facebook most frequently. Following is a breakdown of the types of news that respondents to the Pew Research Center survey stated they regularly see on Facebook:
- Entertainment = 73%
- People and events in my community = 66%
- Sports = 57%
- National government and politics = 55%
- Health and medicine = 46%
- Local government and politics = 44%
- Local weather and traffic = 42%
- International news = 39%
- Science and technology = 37%
- Business = 31%
You can access the full research report by following the link at the beginning of this article. You can also see some of the most interesting statistics from the report in The Facebook News Experience infographic from Pew Research Center below.
Image: Jay Cameron