A recent study has shown that web users prefer Facebook over Twitter, as their news source. Both sites are considered top social media websites, but offer different approaches to reading news online. Project for Excellence in Journalism’s (PEJ) report for The State of the News Media 2012 looks at news consumption habits on different digital devices. The survey made one point very clear; Facebook and Twitter are a source for latest news, but they are not replacements for traditional news sources.
One can say that between the two social media options, Facebook leads the way. Twice as many digital news consumers follow news recommendations from Facebook than Twitter news recommendations. That trend remains consistent across different digital devices (smartphones, computers or tablets). In all, on any device, 7% get news on Facebook very often, compared with only 3% who do so on Twitter. Those populations may grow, or at least involve a broader universe of casual users. Another 19% say they get recommendations via Facebook somewhat often, and 4% via Twitter only somewhat often.
The population overlaps: 82% of those who ever get some news via Twitter recommendations also get some news via Facebook recommendations, and 40% get their news from Facebook very often or somewhat often. Facebook users, however, are much less likely to be on Twitter. Just 27% of Facebook news followers also get news via Twitter, with 11% doing so somewhat or very often. Over all, 13% of digital news consumers follow news recommendations on both Facebook and Twitter – but fewer than 4% do so very or somewhat often.
Another interesting fact the study revealed, is that on Facebook, the news comes mostly through family and friends. When asked who sends most of the news stories read or watch via Facebook, 70% said friends and family. On Twitter, people tend to get news from a broader mix of people: 36% say they get most of their links from friends and family and 27% get their news from officla news organizations or unknown people.
Consumers see Facebook news as replaceable. 56%, of those who get news recommendations from Facebook say they think they would have gotten that news from somewhere else. Twitter users on the other hand answered differently. 43% users said that they would have got this news from elsewhere and 39% said that they wouldn’t have.
Twitter news followers are mobile, compared to Facebook users. Twitter users are also more likely to get news on their smartphone, 64% versus 47% for Facebook users and 30% for all mobile news consumers. Twitter news followers are more likely than others to own a tablet computer, 42% versus 30% among Facebook news followers and 26% for digital news consumers over all. And they are more likely to get news there, 31%, compared with 20% for both Facebook and for digital news consumers over all.
This survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and is based on aggregated data from three telephone surveys conducted in January 2012 (Jan. 12-15, Jan. 19-22 and Jan. 26-29) with national samples of adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted with a total of 3,016 adults (1,809 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,207 were interviewed on a cellphone, including 605 who had no landline telephone).
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