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X keeping its role as news destination

X, earlier called Twitter, remains more of a news destination than other social media sites despite expectations that it could lose this role when Elon Musk bought the site. The vast majority of US users of all four big social media are seeing news-related content, a Pew Research survey shows.

Social media platforms are an important part of the American news diet: Half of US adults say they get news at least sometimes from social media in general. But specific platforms differ widely in structure, content and culture.”

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Key findings:

  • Majorities of news consumers report getting news from news outlets or journalists on all four sites. X news consumers are the most likely to say this (80%), compared with about two-thirds of news consumers on Facebook (68%), TikTok (67%) and Instagram (65%) who say the same.
  • Although users maintain some level of control by deciding whom they follow on each site, computer algorithms also impact users’ feeds on many social media platforms, and technology companies have a variety of policies on how they moderate content such as false information and violent imagery. 
  • Some sites allow users to modify their settings, though previous Center research has found that very few Americans feel like they have a lot of control over what they see online.
  • Majorities of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok users say keeping up with news is not a reason they use the sites. X is the exception: Most X users say that keeping up with news is either a major or minor reason they use the platform, and about half say they regularly get news there.
  • Still, people are seeing news on all four platforms, especially through opinion- or humor-based content. Majorities of users on all four sites say they see people expressing opinions about current events and funny posts that reference current events. On the whole, more people see these types of posts than news articles or breaking news, although many also see that type of content (particularly on X and Facebook).
  • News on each platform comes from a variety of sources. Those who regularly get news on Facebook and Instagram are more likely than those on TikTok and X to get news from friends, family and acquaintances. 
  • More news consumers get news from influencers or other people they don’t know personally on TikTok than on other platforms. And news outlets or journalists are a more common source of news on X than on any other site.
  • Most news consumers on each of the platforms studied say they at least sometimes see news on the platform that seems inaccurate. This includes roughly a quarter or more on each site who say they extremely or fairly often see inaccurate news.
  • In general, Democrats tend to be more skeptical than Republicans of the news they see on X, while the reverse is true on Facebook. Among those who regularly get news on X, for example, 42% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say they often see news there that seems inaccurate, compared with 31% of Republicans and GOP leaners.
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