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How Many People Get Their News from Social Media in 2020?

Do you know that more and more people are turning to social media for the latest news? This doesn’t mean that no one is watching TV or reading the newspapers any longer, though. 

It’s just that social media as a news source is easier to access. 

Think about it:

You can access social media from virtually anywhere, so long as you have a network and a portable device such as a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. With Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, social media users can read their news from the bank or supermarket queues, train station, during your lunch break, you name it.

There’s more:

Social media is faster when it comes to delivering breaking news. Why? Anyone can upload news content via their social media account, even before news agencies arrive on the scene.

Also, users can engage in discussions to get different perspectives, which would be impossible with traditional news sources. 

So, today we decided to look into the question of how many people get their news from social media.

Let’s dive right in.

Using Social Media for News

Social media as a source for news is giving media houses and publishers a run for their money. The news industry isn’t sure whether to treat social media as a competitor or as a passing wave.

Read on to make an informed decision regarding social media and news.

1. Where Do People Get Their News?

(Pew Research Center

Social media, as the latest trendy news source, is a hit with most Americans. Also, an almost equal number of Americans watch the news on TV. As of 2018, there’s much less preference for radio and print news sources.  

2. How Many People Get News from Social Media?

(Pew Research Media, Centre for International Governance Innovation)

The Pew Research Social Media 2018 study shows that 68% of American adults get their news from social media. Only 32% of Americans say they’ve never considered getting their news from social media. 

Some people expect the news to be inaccurate, but the majority report they’ve found the news source to be of help. There are a few things that social media companies can do to curb the spread of fake news:

  • Encouraging users to flag down polarizing content by reporting the accounts that are spreading fake news.
  • Giving hefty punishments to publishers that share fake news.
  • Raising user immunity through education-based initiatives on things like how to spot fake news.

3. Where Do Most People Get Their News?

(Pew Research Center)

Most people prefer to get their news from social media instead of print media. Television is still popular but has been on the decline since 2016.

4. How Many People Use Social Media for News?

(Pew Research Center, Pando Logic)

Social media and news consumption in the US go hand in hand. About two-thirds of the total adult population in America prefer using social platforms. When it comes to consistency in the usage of social platforms, 20% said they use them regularly.

27% sometimes use the platforms, and 21% claim they hardly ever use them. The number of people using the platforms to stay up to date with current events has increased by 1% since 2017. 

Here are the pros and cons of using social media for news:

The pros:

  • Convenience for the readers
  • Invaluable eye-witness reports

The cons:

  • Misinformation, such as mistaken identity
  • Loss of public trust
How Many People Get Their News from Social Media - A Cup of Coffee

5. How Many People Get Their News from Facebook?

(Pew Research Center)

Facebook takes the trophy when it comes to social media news sources. In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, the platform took up almost half (43%) of overall social media usage for news and has retained the same share since 2017.

Let’s look at news use across social media platforms: 

After Facebook, YouTube follows at 21%, which creates a 50% difference comparing its usage to that of Facebook. Twitter comes in third at 12%, Instagram fourth at 8%, LinkedIn fifth at 6%, Reddit and Snapchat tie at number six with 5%, WhatsApp is seventh at 2%, and finally Tumblr at 1%. 

6. Where Do Millennials Get Their News in 2019?

(Knight Foundation)

Adults between 18 and 34 years mostly get their news from online sources, i.e., from apps, social media, or websites. Millennials either use search engines to get news or click on links they find on their media accounts.

Also, according to the survey, Hispanics and black young adults are more likely to share the news with their peers and family. 

7. Is Social Media a Good Source of News?

(Social Media Today)

People use social media to deliver breaking news even before it gets into the hands of major media houses. Let’s have a look at some of the best examples of using social media for breaking news:

  • Back in 2010, as more people were beginning to use social media for news, the British Monarchy showed its love for social media by announcing Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement on Twitter.
  • Facebook was the top social media platform of choice for Prince William and Princess Kate, once again, when they announced the birth of their firstborn in 2013. The British Monarchy has a Facebook page, and this is where the royals announced Prince George’s birth.
  • It took mainstream media about half an hour to catch on to Whitney Houston’s death, and this is another perfect example of social media being used for breaking news. The news originated from Twitter, and within one hour of the news breaking, Twitter users had already retweeted it a mind-blowing 2.5 million times. 

8. How Many People Read News on Social Media?

(Pew Research Center)

The statistics vary when it comes to users on a particular platform. For instance, 71% of Twitter users get their news from the site, compared to 73% of Reddit users and 67% of Facebook users.  

However, when it comes to overall usage, Facebook is in the lead. Way more Americans use the platform compared to Reddit or Twitter. 

9. What Percentage of Millennials Get Their News from Social Media?

(Knight Foundation)

To find out the percentage of people using social media for news, the Knight Foundation conducted a survey and found out the following:

  • 88% of Millennials access news online at least once a week. 
  • 53% of them access news daily. 

10. How Social Media Has Changed the News?


With so many advantages of using social media for news, people no longer wait for the morning newspaper. Also, people are more likely to come across breaking news on social media as they go about their daily activities than they are to wait to see it on TV. 


When it comes to how many people get their news from social media:

The use of platforms like Facebook and Twitter for getting the latest news remains popular in 2020. Social media’s accessibility means that people prefer to go to their social media profiles, groups, or pages to get the latest news – to the detriment of traditional news sources.