US Adults Who Get News From Social Media Sites Remain Skeptical About Its Accuracy

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Roughly one-half of adults in the U.S. often or sometimes get news from social media sites, but the majority of them have questions about the accuracy of that news, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.

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The think tank surveyed 9,220 U.S. adults from Aug. 31 through Sept. 7, 2020, and it found that while 53% of respondents often or sometimes turn to social networks for news, 59% of those who do so with any frequency expect that news to be largely inaccurate, while just 39% expect it to be largely accurate.

Facebook topped the list of platforms, with 36% of respondents getting news there regularly, followed by YouTube (23%) and Twitter (15%).

Pew attributed the lower results for the other platforms in its study—Instagram (11%), Reddit (6%), Snapchat (4%), LinkedIn (4%), TikTok (3%), WhatsApp (3%), Tumblr (1%) and Twitch (1%)—to lower use of those platforms in general.

Pew Research Center

Other findings by Pew included:

  • While Twitter may be used by just 25% of respondents, 59% of that group gets news from the platform regularly.
  • Similarly, 15% of respondents said they use Reddit, but 42% of that group gets news regularly from the site.
  • Conversely, while 74% of respondents use YouTube, just 32% of them regularly turn to the Google-owned video site for news.
  • Just 29% of Americans who use social media for news said the news they get from those platforms has helped them to better understand current events, while 23% said it has mode them more confused and 47% cited not much of a difference.
  • Demographics varied from site to site, as whites made up the majority of respondents who regularly get news from Facebook (60%) and Reddit (59%), but less than one-half of those getting news from Instagram. Meanwhile, Blacks and Hispanics accounted for 22% and 27%, respectively, of regular news consumers on Instagram.
  • People who regularly get news on Facebook are more likely to be women than men (63% vs. 35%), while two-thirds of Reddit’s regular news users are men.

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