News and politics on TikTok, X, Facebook and Instagram

X (formerly Twitter) stands out as a source of news and political content

Posted

A new Pew Research Center package finds that how U.S. adults get news and navigate politics on TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Instagram varies across platforms. 

Majorities of Americans who use X say that getting news (65%) and keeping up with politics or political issues (59%) are reasons they use the platform. Far smaller shares of TikTok, Facebook and Instagram users cite these as reasons they turn to those sites.

The new package consists of two Pew Research Center reports based on a survey of 10,287 adult internet users in the United States. It was conducted March 18-24, 2024, using the Center’s American Trends Panel. The reports are from the Pew-Knight Initiative, a research program funded jointly by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For platform-specific findings:

Key findings about news on social media include:

  • Though many users say news is not a reason they use these platforms, large majorities still see news there, especially through opinions or jokes. On all four sites, two-thirds or more of users say they ever see humor- or opinion-based content about current events. On all sites but X, users are more likely to see this type of content than news articles or breaking news.
  • From journalists to influencers to friends, people get news from different sources. News consumers on TikTok are more likely than those on other sites to get news from influencers or celebrities, while those on Facebook and Instagram are more likely to get it from family, friends and acquaintances. And news outlets or journalists are a more common source of news on X than on any other site.
  • Across all platforms, most news consumers say they at least sometimes see news that seems inaccurate. Roughly a quarter or more of news consumers on each platform say they see inaccurate news extremely orfairly often. Democrats who get news on X are more likely than Republicans to say they often see news that seems inaccurate there, while Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats of news on Facebook.

Key findings about politics on social media include:

  • Users are more likely to see politics on social media platforms than personally share about it. Among X users, 74% say at least some of what they see on the site is about politics or political issues, compared with smaller shares of people on Facebook (52%), TikTok (45%) and Instagram (36%). Fewer X (14%), Facebook (11%), Instagram (8%) and TikTok (7%) users say they share at least some political content on these platforms.
  • Roughly half of Republican X users (53%) say the site is mostly good for American democracy — a reversal from the 17% who said this in 2021. In contrast, Democratic X users’ views are trending negative over the same period. Users on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook most commonly say that each site has no impact on democracy.
  • Harassment is widely seen as a problem on each of these sites. But the extent to which people view this as an issue varies by party, especially on X. Democratic X users are far more likely than Republican users to say people getting harassed on the site is a major problem (48% vs. 15%).

The margin of sampling error for the full sample of of 10,287 adult internet users in the U.S. is 1.5 percentage points. 

News on social media:

Politics on social media:

For more information or to arrange an interview email Sogand Afkari at safkari@pewresearch.org or Haley Nolan at hnolan@pewresearch.org.

About the Pew-Knight Initiative:

The Pew-Knight Initiative supports new research on how Americans absorb civic information, form beliefs and identities, and engage in their communities. Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. Knight Foundation is a social investor committed to supporting informed and engaged communities.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here


Scroll the Latest Job Opportunities From The Media Job Board