Facebook Plays Key Part In How People Discover, Share News

By Justin Lafferty 

It’s apparent that Facebook has changed the way people share information, and not just baby photos and event announcements. According to a study in the United Kingdom by the Reuters Institute, the social network is responsible for 55 percent of the country’s news sharing, beating out email and Twitter.

Some other interesting tidbits from the study:

  • 20 percent of U.K. residents now discover news via social media
  • 55 percent of news links are shared through Facebook
  • 28 percent of U.S. residents polled share news over social media

Reuters Institute also illustrated how different age groups take in news. Not surprisingly, the younger generation flocks to Facebook more often than older adults. Among those aged 16-24, 43 percent receive their news through sites like Facebook and Twitter. When given the choice to share news through Facebook or email (no word on how many, if any, used Facebook email to share stories), 71 percent of people aged 16-24 chose Facebook. Email is still the preferred method for those over 45, coming in at 51 percent.

The study shows how innovations within Facebook — such as frictionless sharing — have encouraged more news to be spread through the social network:

These developments have been fueled by a greater focus on news by Facebook in particular, with the development of social plugins for news sites and the launch of social newsreading apps during 2011. These allow the sharing of a news story or video based on what you’ve read — often known as “frictionless sharing”‘ Partly as a result, news organizations like The Washington Post, The Guardian and Yahoo have reported significant uplifts in traffic — with The Guardian reporting at one stage that referrals from Facebook had outstripped those from Google search. The Economist says that almost 10 percent of its site traffic now comes from social media.

Readers: Do you find yourself sharing more news through Facebook, Twitter, or email?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.