More people now say they get their news from social media than from print newspapers, by 20% to 16%, according to the Pew Research Center. In one sense this shouldn’t be a shock—print circulation has been dropping in recent years and social media is increasingly central for distributing news. In fact, you could argue the real surprise here is that the percentage of people who get their news from social media is that small.
Given all the attention that Facebook (and Twitter) has gotten for distributing fake news, you’d think the number of people getting news from those services would be greater than just one in five. It is also possible that the question is too ambiguous: people who are directed to online articles via links they saw on social media may have said they got news from websites even though social media could have also been the answer. (A third of people said they got news from websites).
It’s also notable that the percentage of people who say they get news from television has dropped 8 percentage points over the past two years, to a still hefty 49%. It’s another sign that there are no monolithic mediums when it comes to news these days and it’s more challenging for any one outlet to dominate the coverage.