Whether or not they’re looking for news on their Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) newsfeed, about one in three U.S. adults end up getting some of their news from the social media site, according to a new study by Pew Research Center in collaboration with the Knight Foundation.
“I believe Facebook is a good way to find out news without actually looking for it,” wrote one survey respondent.
Almost half of all adult Facebook users said that they “never” get news on the social network, which amounts to 30 percent of the adult U.S. population.
Most of those who find news on Facebook are not actively seeking it, according to the study data. Rather, some 78 percent of those who got news from their newsfeeds said that it happened inadvertently -- they were on Facebook for another reason, and a news tidbit just happened to be featured in their newsfeed. Only 22 percent of Facebook news consumers said they were actively looking for news on their newsfeeds.
Those who consume news on Facebook tend to be younger. A much larger proportion of Facebook users aged 18-29 consume news on Facebook than those who are older. This same age group is much less likely to be engaged with news on other platforms.
“If it wasn’t for Facebook news,” wrote a survey respondent who was a part of the Pew study, “I’d probably never really know what’s going on in the world because I don’t have time to keep up with the news on a bunch of different locations.”
The study also found that news consumption on Facebook did not replace other news-consumption activities.
Here’s an infographic with more insights from the study’s findings: