The Pew Research Center has released the results of a new survey that reveal 61 percent of the younger, Internet-savvy millennials, those whose age falls between 18 and 33 years old, stated that in the past week they obtained government-related or political news from Facebook. It is significantly higher than the 44 percent of millennials who answered they read news from CNN, and still higher than the 37 percent who watched local TV for news coverage.
The Generation X, individuals within 34 to 49 years of age, has also replied to the survey and 51 percent of the group received news information from Facebook. Meanwhile, the baby boomers, the 50 to 68-year-olds, still preferred the local TV sources as only 39 percent reported reading politics and government related news from Facebook in the past week.
The result of the survey timely appears when Facebook is quickly spreading its influence in the news media. Facebook has started publishing and hosting "Instant Articles" from its partner news organizations such as National Geographic last month.
The clear goal is to keep Facebook customers from leaving the website so that instead of checking over other websites for the news, users can now simultaneously enjoy interactive multimedia on Facebook and read news articles that usually load faster in Facebook. In return, news publishers who collaborated with Facebook seemingly have gained access to shares ad revenue and audience targeting tools. It is very appealing for news publishers to team up with Facebook as it already has 1.25 billion mobile users, and users now read news more through cell phones.
On the other hand, Google News comes a far second as an online news rival for Facebook, which was used for its government and political news service by 33 percent of the millennials, 18 percent users from Generation X and only 15 percent from the baby boomers, according to the Pew survey. YouTube scored a bit lower with 23 percent of millennials, 11 percent of Generation X and 10 percent of baby boomers get the news from the video website.
Furthermore, the Pew survey also revealed a controversial matter regarding how people learn from the content posted on Facebook. In the past, the social network has been criticized for supposedly displaying status updates or stories to users who are more likely to press the "Like," creating an echo chamber-like setting. The Pew's survey results expose that 31 percent of baby boomers read posts that "support their own views" all or most of the time, while 21 percent of Generation X agree and 18 percent of millennials noticed it too.
Photo: Mixy Lorenzo | Flickr