The Pew Research Center, in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has put out a study about the role of news on Facebook, finding that about half of U.S. adult Facebook users (47%) get news from the social network. This, according to Pew, amounts to 30% of the population.
The study finds that most adults in the U.S. don't go to Facebook specifically seeking out news, but 78% of them simply get news when they get on Facebook for other reasons. Only 4% consider it the most important way they get their news.
38% of "heavy news followers" who get their news on Facebook say it is an important way of getting their news. The report, authored by Amy Mitchell, Jocelyn Kiley, Keffrey Gottfried and Emily Guskin, says:
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%, of Facebook news consumers. That far outpaces the 20% that they account for among Facebook users who do not get news on the site.
What’s more, 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.
As you would expect, the people that are hanging around on Facebook for more of their days are getting more news. According to the report, 67% of those who use Facebook for at least an hour a day get news there, compared to 41% who spend less than an hour a day.
This is really just a small sampling of the findings. You can check out the whole ten-page report here.
The report is particularly timely, as Facebook just revealed some interesting findings of its own this week, with regards to how media properties perform. The company worked with 29 partner media sites and found that those who increased the frequency of their posts saw referral traffic climb by over 80%.
Referral traffic from Facebook to media sites, on average, increased by over 170% over the past year. Specifically, from September 2012 to September 2013, TIME saw a 208% increase, BuzzFeed saw an 855% increase, and Bleacher Report saw a 1,081% increase.