According to a recent survey from Pew Research, 50% of Americans get their news from social media — but the number who frequently go to social media for news is apparently declining.
The survey, which was conducted July 18 through August 21 with more than 12,000 respondents, asked a variety of questions regarding news consumption habits. Once the survey narrowed down to those who at least “rarely” get news from “digital devices,” the survey asked: “Now thinking about the news you get on a smartphone, computer, or tablet, how often do you get news from … social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?”
Seventeen percent of respondents indicated that they “often” get their news from social media, while 33% said they “sometimes” do. Twenty percent responded that they “rarely” get their news from social media, and 29% said they never do.
The percentage of individuals who “often” get news from social media is down for the second year in a row. In 2020, it was 23%, and in 2021, it was 19%. The percentages for “sometimes” grew from 30% to 33%, while the combined “rarely” and “never” grew by two points, 47% to 49%.
According to the survey, the most used social media site is YouTube, with 82% of respondents indicating they use the site. Facebook comes in second with 70%, while Instagram comes in a distant third place with 47%.
This survey comes as multiple social media companies have issued more restrictive policies regarding political news.
In August, TikTok updated its political guidelines in advance of the 2022 midterm election.
“TikTok isn’t a go-to hub for breaking news, and we don’t accept paid political ads, but we are committed to combatting the spread of misinformation on the platform, including through supporting our community with education and authoritative information on important public topics like elections,” reads the election integrity policy.
Twitter and Facebook have also updated their guidelines.
In an August blog post, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp stated that their “approach” to the midterms “exceeds the measures we implemented during the last midterm election in 2018.” The updates include security to combat alleged foreign and domestic interference and influence, transparency regarding political ads, and more.
Facebook also recently came under fire from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over their decision to limit the reach of political content right in time for the midterms.
In July, following months of apparent trials, Facebook announced the means by which they would reduce the reach of political content.
“Our tests have concluded and demonstrated that placing less emphasis on likes and shares for political content is an effective way to reduce the amount of political content people experience in their Feed,” Meta stated. “We have now implemented these changes globally.”
McCarthy tweeted on August 5: “Facebook made sure no one saw the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election. But now that America has record inflation, rising crime, & a border crisis —all as a result of Dem policies— Facebook is shutting down more ‘political content’ to hide the truth from Americans.”
Facebook made sure no one saw the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election.
But now that America has record inflation, rising crime, & a border crisis—all as a result of Dem policies—Facebook is shutting down more “political content” to hide the truth from Americans. pic.twitter.com/RLe1W3ybTb
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 5, 2022
Dillon Burroughs contributed to this report.