Social networks are becoming the main source of news each day. Currently many people turn to Twitter and Facebook to get breaking news because of their interactive nature. Bloggers and freelance journalists have created websites that pass all kinds of stories in technology, politics, culture and fashion. A report was released by the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation on news consumption from Twitter and Facebook.
TechNewsWorld reports that almost two-thirds of Twitter and Facebook members get news from social networks. For Twitter, that’s an 11 point increase from 2013, when 52 percent of its members said they get news from Twitter. For Facebook it’s a 16 point jump since 2013, when 47 percent of its members said they looked to it for news according to survey.
“The main takeaway of the study is that even while the overall number of users has not changed much from 2013 to 2015, the portion of the users that are getting news in this space has increased substantially,” Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at Pew said.
The social network is a secondary source of news for most members, but some still argue out that social media can not be trusted because people abuse the space with cooked stories.
“Only 9 percent of Twitter people and 4 percent of Facebook people say it’s the most important way that they get news, which to me implies other sources — including more traditional sources — are still viewed as the most important source,” Jon Sotsky, director for strategy and assessment at the Knight Foundation said.
“People encounter news in this space, as opposed to going there seeking news,” Pew’s Mitchell pointed out. “They’re going to a social network to do something else — and when they’re there, they come across news.”
Social networks stream instant articles on different social platforms therefore making them reliable to many people. However, the researchers found half of users between the ages of 18 and 34 said that the sites were “the most important” or “an important” way they got news.
“When you consider the group that is migrating toward getting their news on social media — young people — you’re talking about people that advertisers want the most,” John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University said.
Google and other social networks have improvised ways to improve news delivery to their users. Google launched the Youtube Newswire which gathers together and verifies eyewitness videos from current events so news outlets can add them to their stories. Social network advancements have not been welcomed warmly by some journalists and media houses hence they believe it will create competition. The Apple’s News App was rebuked by many because it will control the distribution of news, the app algorithmically compiles stories from the world’s biggest media organizations. Facebook also launched Instant Articles, a service that allows media companies to publish stories directly to the Facebook platform instead of linking to outside sites.
“When you look at Instant Articles on Facebook, they come up in a more native user interface. They look more integrated with Facebook, and they come up a lot faster,” said Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner.
“For mobile, it makes the experience a lot smoother,” he said, “because the experience is there directly, and you don’t have to click on links and traverse around the Internet.”
“Facebook wants to be the Web for all its users,” BU’s Caroll said. “The more they can house content on the Facebook platform, the better they like it, because they can retain their users longer and mine more data from them.”
Traditional media outlets should be wary of becoming dependent on Instant Articles, he cautioned.
“You have the potential of these Instant Articles becoming addictive to publications, for them to rely on the audience they draw, and then Facebook changes things so they’re not so favorable to the publications,” Carroll explained.
“Social media is becoming more of a way that people are connecting with news,” Mitchell argued. “There are many ways within social media that people are getting that news. One of the challenges for news organizations is figuring out to what degree people are using those ways to get news and their awareness of where their news is coming from.”