Pew: if you use Facebook or Twitter, you probably get news there

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Pew: if you use Facebook or Twitter, you probably get news there

Do you read news on Facebook instead of a dedicated site, or catch breaking stories on Twitter instead of TV? You're not alone. Pew's latest study shows that 63 percent of American Facebook and Twitter users rely on the social networks as news sources -- at least an 11 percent jump from two years ago. That isn't entirely surprising given recent (and ongoing) efforts to highlight the day's events on both services, but it also shows how some news is virtually defined by what happens on social networks. If you followed protests against police abuses, for instance, the best sources were usually Twitter-savvy marchers.

However, just what you see and when varies widely. Twitter users are much more likely (59 percent versus 31 percent) to follow developing events, and they typically see more stories about international affairs, politics and sports. In other words, the formats of both social sites are still dictating the kind of news you read. Facebook has made some attempts to capture the heat of the moment, but Twitter's real-time feed still gives it an edge. And that may not change any time soon -- Twitter is the social platform of choice for live video apps like Meerkat and (of course) Periscope, so it's your only real option if you insist on first-hand footage.
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