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social media as news source

Is Musk’s ownership of Twitter changing the social media as news source

The future of Twitter under its new owner Elon Musk is a focus in the media business. Many speculate on how it could affect growth for alternative social media. Studies of social media as a source for news show that the alternative companies have a long way to go. 14 % of Americans regularly have used Twitter as a source for news while overall only 6% of Americans regularly get news from one of seven studied alternative social media. The question now is if the turmoil around Twitter means its position as a source for news is changing.

Many more Americans use more established social media sites for news, including Facebook (31%) and YouTube (25%). 

Number three as a news source is Twitter (14%), Instagram (13%), TikTok (10%) or Reddit (8%). Fewer regularly get news from LinkedIn (4%), Snapchat (4%), Nextdoor (4%), WhatsApp (3%) or Twitch (1%).

“When looking at the proportion of each social media site’s users who regularly get news there, some sites stand out as having a greater portion of users turning to the site for news even if their total audience is relatively small”, Pew Research says. 

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“For example, while Twitter is used by about three-in-ten U.S. adults (27%), about half of its users (53%) turn to the site to regularly get news there. On the other hand, roughly the same share of adults (31%) use LinkedIn, but only 13% of its users regularly get news on the site.” 

In many cases, there are demographic differences between the people who turn to each social media site regularly for news. On several of the social media sites, adults under 30 make up the largest share of those who regularly get news on the site. For example, half or more of regular news consumers on Snapchat (67%), TikTok (52%) and Reddit (50%) are ages 18 to 29. 

Women make up a greater portion of regular news consumers on Facebook, while the opposite is true for Twitter and Reddit. 94% of journalists in the U.S. use social media for their job. Twitter is the number one.

2% of Americans regularly get news from ex-president Donald Trump’s social media Truth Social, Pew Research data shows. 

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Trump launched his social media platform when Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube blocked his accounts after the riots at Capitol Hill with the mob trying to stop the formal announcement of Joe Biden as the new US resident. Trump was accused of having used his social media accounts to induce mob violence.

Musk has, after a vote among Twitter users, declared that Trump now can use his Twitter account again but it is still unclear if he will do so. 

Trump has announced that he will be a candidate for the US presidential elections in 2024 and Twitter would have a far wider reach for his messages than his own Truth Social but he would also have economic reasons to promote his own platform.

Pew Research shows that 1% of Americans regularly get news from Parler, 2% from Telegram, 2% from Rumble, 1% from Gab, 1% from Gettr and 1% from BitChute.

A majority of those who regularly get news from at least one of the seven alternative social media sites (66%) identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party, in contrast with the news consumers on more established social media sites, who largely identify as Democrats or lean Democratic, Pew Research shows. 

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And this trend is common among prominent accounts as well, with about a quarter of the alternative social media accounts (26%) identifying as conservative or Republican or supportive of former President Donald Trump or his “Make America Great Again” movement. In addition, many prominent accounts express values such as patriotism and religious identity.  

Several of the alternative sites are linked to conservative backers. The Pew Research study found a noteworthy percentage of prominent accounts on these seven newer sites (15%) have been banned or demonetized elsewhere on social media.

Web measurement firm Insider Intelligence recently predicted that Twitter’s global monthly user base will shrink 3.9% next year and 5.1% in 2024.

“Users will start to leave the platform next year as they grow frustrated with technical issues and the proliferation of hateful or other unsavoury content,” predicted Insider Intelligence’s analyst Jasmine Enberg.

Insider Intelligence says it has cut projections for Twitter ad revenue growth to be essentially flat. In March, the firm expected double-digit ad revenue growth for Twitter in both 2023 and 2024.

But “it’s not time to write Twitter’s obituary yet,” Enberg said. “While our forecast reflects the current volatile conditions at the company, there’s a possibility users will flock back—if the app can figure out its tech and content moderation.”

Advertising has represented close to 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

And it is still unclear who will lead Twitter in the future. When Musk asked Twitter users if he should stay or go as ceo of Twitter, a majority told him to go. Musk had said he would abide by the result of the voting and has announced that he is looking for “someone stupid enough” to take the job. 

While looking for that person, Musk is still in charge for the company he bought for USD 44 billion.

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