Twitter is not just another social networking platform, but it also serves as a source of the latest news for a majority of its users. A survey by Twitter and the American Press Institute in partnership with the research firm DB5 found that 86% of the total number of respondents said they use the micro-blogging site for news, amounting to almost 9 out of 10 users.

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Twitter used majorly for news

The survey involved 4,700 social media users, and nearly 74% of them claimed that they use Twitter for everyday news. About 40% of them use the site for breaking news, while 39% use it for keeping up with news in general. Only U.S. users were part of the study, and it was revealed that the news on Twitter was looked upon as a way of passing time by its users. Activities such as commenting, posting and sharing made users more active and participatory in cases when events were moving fast.

The tweets from accounts followed by each user and included on his/her timeline served as a major source of news for nearly 94% of the users, as noted by the study. Trending topics served as the mode of news for 34% of the users. The search tool on Twitter was used by just 30% of the users for news.

The American Press Institute said, “Social networks are no longer a new door into news. They have become a primary pathway to it – and understanding how people use and create that flow of information is central to survival of news operations in the future.”

Twitter users not avid viewers of TV news

Twitter users are less likely to watch TV news. Rather, they prefer to use search, mobile apps, websites and social networks. The researchers noted that people making use of social media as a source of news can design their own news agenda by identifying the sources and topics they are interested in following.

Both commentators and journalists were followed by 73% of Twitter users, and 82% of the users made use of mobile phones for accessing the micro-blogging site. Youth forms the majority of users on Twitter, revealed the survey. The survey questionnaire was formulated by researchers after they gained access to Twitter’s database. The survey was conducted between Nov. 23 and Dec. 15, 2014, and the results were compiled and analyzed by DB5.