More Americans now get news from social media than from newspapers, says survey

Key Points
  • More people in the U.S. now get news from social media sites instead of print newspapers, according to Pew Research Center.
  • Pew Research said TV is still the most popular place to get news, but that's on the decline. News websites and radio are increasing in popularity.
  • Print newspapers were still more popular than social media in 2016, but the two were about equal in popularity last year.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

For the first time ever, more Americans now get news from social media sites than from print newspapers, Pew Research said on Monday.

Twenty percent of U.S. adults polled by the company say they "often" get news from social media while 16 percent "often" turn to newspapers. Last year the two media were "about equal," Pew Research said. The results are based on a survey of 3,425 U.S. adults conducted over the summer. Pew said the survey respondents were all part of a "nationally representative" panel.

Television remains the most popular means for digesting the news — 49 percent of adults polled still get news there — but that's down from 57 percent in 2016. Thirty-three percent of adults turn to news websites (up from 28 percent two years ago), while 26 percent prefer radio (up 1 percentage point since 2016.)

Younger respondents skewed toward using social media to read the news: Among people 18-29, social media was the most popular way to get the news, with 36 percent saying they "often" get news that way. In contrast, people over 50 preferred TV for news by a wide margin over all other media.

Social media has become increasingly popular as a means to spread false narratives. In October, Twitter found 10 million fake accounts in Russia and Iran that were part of misinformation campaigns. Similar trolls were also active on Facebook and Instagram, where they posted fake news in an effort to sway U.S. elections.

Read more from Pew Research.

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