*Analysis: Where do people get their news from on social media?

A Pew Research Center study titled “News Use Across Social Media Platforms in 2020” shines a light on where Americans were getting their news from on social media in 2020. The report also breaks gives some interesting insights into what social media platforms were most popular among Democrats and Republicans.

Roughly half of Americans at least sometimes get their news on social media. Twenty-one percent of Americans never get their news from social media – with 18 percent of Americans saying they rarely get news on social media.


Facebook stands out as the Primary source of news for Americans with 36% of users saying they “regularly get news” on the website. With a staggering 68% of Americans using the website and 36% saying they get their news there regularly.This means that there are over 80 million Americans regularly getting news on Facebook (68% of 330,095,682 = 224,465,063 American Facebook users – 36% of these users = 80,807,422).

Facebook and Twitter lead as the primary go-to social media platforms for news. The study founds that 59% of Twitter users “regularly get news there,” while comparatively 54% of Facebook users reported getting news on the social media platform. Despite the constant taunts of people who “get their news from YouTube,” it’s worth digesting the fact that 74% of Americans use YouTube and 32% of the users on the platform report getting their news there regularly.

This means that 78 million Americans regularly get their news from YouTube – keep in mind that all the established mainstream media outlets provide their services on almost all major social media platforms including YouTube.


Interestingly, those using Facebook regularly as their news source were predominantly women (63% women vs 35% men). YouTube on the other hand was the reverse situation – with 55% of users who regularly used it as their news source being men compared to just 42% of women. LinkedIn had the highest number of College-educated users with 56% followed by Twitter with 42 of users being College educated.

Which platform leaned most Democrat?

Reddit was by far the most Democrat-leaning platform with 79% of users declaring they were either Democrat or leaned Democrat. This is followed by Twitter (65%) with Instagram closely behind (64%). The platform with the fewest Democrat users was Facebook – for shame Zuck!


The most Republican-leaning platforms were Facebook who led the pack at 46% of users declaring they were Republican or leaned Republican. Then the numbers drop off with YouTube who has 42% of their users falling under the Republican tribal banner.

Where do the young people go for news?

Using the criteria of those under the age of 29, young people predominantly get their news regularly off of Reddit (48%), Instagram (47%) and Twitter (39%).


Social Media news consumers expect news there to be inaccurate

The irony of this is of course that many Americans regularly go to social media to get their news but also expect the news there to be inaccurate. 39% of social media news consumers said that news on social media was “largely accurate” while a staggering 59% reported that the news there was “largely inaccurate.” Why go there for news if you believe the sources to be largely inaccurate in the first place?

Only minority say news on social media has improved understand of current events

Only 29% of social media news consumers say that news on social media has “helped them better understand current events.” This is contrasted by 47% of social media news consumers who said that it hadn’t made much of a difference and the other 23% of consumers that reported that news on social media had “made them more confused about current events.”

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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

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Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband, and a father to 3 beautiful girls. He is a concerned citizen who is closely watching his government's actions through critical thinking, and assessment of all qualified and relevant data. He believes in going to the Primary sources of data at all times if possible.