Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is the second-largest source of political news in the United States for those having an internet connection, according to a Pew research study. The study that polled 2,901 people concluded that 49% of respondents watch news only on local TV and 48% get the latest news from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), compared to 44% for CNN and 39% for Fox News.
Facebook (FB) dominates homes with internet
Pew noted that the research is based on the 89% of Americans who have internet access. If you include homes with no internet connection, only 39% of Americans receive political news from Facebook. Among its peers such as YouTube and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is number one, as just around 14% of the respondents get their political news on YouTube, and 9% said that Twitter is their source of political news.
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These figures make clear the deep penetration of the largest social networking site among households. Close to 77% of respondents said that they use Facebook compared to just 22% for Twitter. The report from Pew stated that such users do not specifically use Facebook for political news, but end up reading it in their news feed.
Political polarization in the U.S.
A Facebook feed shows items posted by friends and acquaintances, and could be a factor in the political polarization in the United States. The report said, “When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust.”
Around 20% of the public are consistent liberals or conservatives in the United States, according to the research report of Pew. However, these 20% make a substantial difference in the political scenario by voting, donating to campaigns and participating directly in politics. Liberals selected CNN, NPR, MSNBC and The New York Times as their preferred channels. Conservatives clearly go for Fox News and around 47% of consistent conservatives cite Fox News as their main source of political news.
The report also noted consistent liberals trust more news sources than consistent conservatives. Among those conservatives, 47% say that posts they view on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are generally in-line with their views. However, the same view is supported by only 23% of average Facebook users and 32% of consistent liberals.