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How social media users link

Social media users’ linking mapped in new study

Users of established social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter share link to established news media while users of alternative social media such as Parler and Truth Social link to other social media platforms, a Pew Research Center study shows. 

Prominent accounts on Twitter are far more likely than those on alternative social media sites to link to news media outlets such as print publications, television and wire services, the study says. 

66% of all links shared by prominent Twitter accounts in June 2022 directed readers to such news media outlets, compared with only 5% of the links shared by prominent accounts on seven alternative social media sites studied by the Center: BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble, Telegram and Truth Social.

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It is not known if this trend has changed when Elon Musk later last year bought Twitter and made some noticeable changes indicating less strict moderation of hate speech etc that for instance made big companies holding back on advertising on Twitter. 

The study shows that prominent accounts on alternative social media sites in many cases share links to other social media sites.

Some 45% of all links shared by prominent accounts on these sites went to different social media brands, whether to more established sites such as YouTube or Twitter (24%) or to various alternative sites such as BitChute or Gab (21%).

Prominent accounts on both Twitter and the seven alternative social media sites studied posted a similar share of links (around one-in-five) to digital-only outlets of various kinds.

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The differences between links shared on Twitter and those shared on alternative social media sites are also pronounced when looking at the most common individual sites shared by prominent accounts, Pew Research says.

All 10 most-shared sites by prominent accounts on Twitter in June 2022 were the online sites of news media organizations such as The Washington Post, Reuters or The New York Times. 

The 10 most-shared sites by prominent alternative social media accounts primarily went to other social media, as well as to two digital-only outlets: The Gateway Pundit and Rebel News.

52% of those who regularly get news on alternative social media sites say that they either extremely or fairly often see news on these sites that they would not have seen elsewhere.

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