30 per cent people in US get their news on Facebook

Fb newsfeedA recent survey shows 30 per cent Americans learn about important happenings via the social networking, even if incidentally. (Reuters)

While people may not log on to Facebook to get news, 30 per cent Americans learn about important happenings via the social networking, even if incidentally.

On Facebook, news is a common but incidental experience, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.

Overall, about half of adult Facebook users, 47 per cent, "ever" get news there, that amounts to 30 per cent of the US population, researchers said.

The on-line survey of 5,173 adults found that the vast majority of Facebook news consumers - 78 per cent - get news when they are on Facebook for other reasons.

And just 4 per cent said it is the most important way they get news.

However, the survey provides evidence that Facebook exposes some people to news who otherwise might not get it.

While only 38 per cent of heavy news followers who get news on Facebook say the site is an important way they get news, that figure rises to 47 per cent among those who follow the news less often.

In particular, younger adults, who as a group are less engaged than their elders are with news on other platforms, are as engaged, if not more so, with news on Facebook.

Young people (18- to 29 year-olds) account for about a third, 34 per cent, of Facebook news consumers. That far outpaces the 20 per cent that they account for among Facebook users who do not get news on the site.

These 18- to 29-year-olds get news on Facebook across topics at roughly the same levels as older age groups, turn there as often for breaking news and deem the site as

important a source of news.

All in all, then, it may be the very incidental nature of the site that ultimately exposes more people to news there. Indeed, the more time one spends on the site, the more likely they are to get news there.

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