Millennials -- loosely defined as people between 18 and 33 years old -- aren't known as the most avid political news consumers. But they sure love Facebook.
According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of millennials told researchers they had gotten political news from Facebook in the last week, handily beating the second most commonly answered source, CNN, which is an actual news source. The poll asked about social networks like Facebook and Twitter alongside traditional news outlets.
It's not just millennials, either. Generation Xers, defined as adults between 34 and 49, also get political news from Facebook more commonly than from any other source, according to the report. Although baby boomers are more traditional in their news diet, with 60 percent of them tuning into local news on a weekly basis, even 39 percent of boomers regularly get news about their government from Facebook.
Last month, nine publishers partnered with Facebook to publish stories directly on the network, as opposed to posting links there. The Pew study gives a look into why media organizations and news publishers have entered into an agreement with Facebook that some have called a "Faustian bargain." Publishers may be flocking to Facebook's instant articles program simply because Facebook is simply too big, drives too many eyeballs onto news stories, and it has an high rate of usage among millennials, who are rapidly becoming the country's largest demographic. Either your news goes on Facebook or nobody sees it.
However, when the poll asked for a "main source" of news, Facebook fell behind purpose-built aggregators like Google News and Yahoo News among millennials, suggesting that people don't like to admit they get all their news from social media. A third of millennials said they used Google News in the past week. All three groups tended to prefer traditional news sources over new media for political news, picking sources like NBC News over newer sites like Buzzfeed, one of Facebook's instant articles partners.
The Pew study had a sample size of 2,901 people and was conducted through an online poll in 2014.