Majority of Americans turning to Facebook and Twitter for news consumption: Report

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Social media giants Facebook and Twitter are turning into influential news sources for majority of Americans, a new survey has found.

According to a survey conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center in association with the John S and James L Knight Foundation, around 63 per cent of Twitter users and 63 per cent of Facebook users use each social media platform as a source for news about ongoing events and issues outside the realm of friends and family. The share has increased up from 52 per cent of Twitter users and 47 per cent of Facebook users back in 2013. The report is based on surveys of over 2,000 people during two weekends in March.

Although the portion of users getting news on both the social networks is same, the report claims that there are “significant differences in their potential news distribution strengths.”

For instance, Twitter is more often seen as a source for breaking news. While fifty-nine percent of the respondents said they follow breaking news on Twitter, just 31 percent said they follow Facebook for the same.

“As more social networking sites recognize and adapt to their role in the news environment, each will offer unique features for news users, and these features may foster shifts in news use,” notes the Pew Research Center.

“Those different uses around news features have implications for how Americans learn about the world and their communities, and for how they take part in the democratic process. This examination of Facebook and Twitter sheds light on the similarities and differences of these two prominent social media platforms.”

The survey comes as both tech giants are increasing their emphasis on news. Facebook launched Instant Articles earlier this year. Twitter meanwhile acquired Periscope, and also plans to release its long-rumored news feature, “Project Lightning,” which will curate breaking news and live events around the globe, sometime later this year.