According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of adults get their news from social media as of 2016, an increase from 49 percent in 2012.
Reddit, Facebook and Twitter garner the highest readership percentage for news at 70, 66 and 59 percent respectively. When perceived in the context of all social media, Facebook and Twitter lead the pack, with 44 percent and 9 percent of U.S. adults getting their news from there.
Psychology junior Reid Evans said he mostly gets his news from Reddit.
“You have to use the right sub-Reddit, otherwise it’s just super biased and stupid,” Evans said. “There’s a conservative, there’s also a liberal one — which is most of them, if I’m being honest. There’s also a couple more unbiased ones. I kind of browse them all, just to get the full picture.”
Evans said he does not use mainstream social media for news, unless it’s local news, because it’s likely to be unbiased.
“Almost anything that has to do with national news – specifically, what’s going on in Washington – is going to have some kind of political slant to it,” Reid said. “Whereas, if somebody’s posting something about, like, your community, it’s more informational.”
Aerospace engineering freshman Rachel Weeresinghe said she gets her news through social media and follows Fox News and CNN for differing viewpoints.
“I think it’s good to have biases,” Weeresinghe said. “That’s why I do Fox and CNN. They’re like total left and right. You develop your own opinion, but you see the opinion of others around you, too.”
Engineering geology senior Liliana Castillo said she gets her news from Yahoo and Bing. She also uses a news app preinstalled on her iPhone, Instagram and Twitter.
Assistant psychology professor Amber Schroeder explained the implications of many youth using social media as their primary source of news.
“It could be a good thing, because now, maybe, certain news outlets are reaching a group of the population they haven’t before,” Schroeder said. “It could also be a bad thing, because you follow what you are interested in, or what groups you feel are probably going to give you the type of information you agree with.”
She also said social media news might polarize what people hear about. Some people might end up less educated about the broader world and only find out information they focus on.
The American Press Institute said in an article, that adults, ages 18 to 34, do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch TV news or seek out news in great numbers. This generation, instead, spends more time on social networks, often on mobile devices.
The article said the worry is that millennials’ awareness of the world, as a result, is narrowed. Their discovery of events is incidental and passive, and news is just one of many random elements in a social feed.
But, some students don’t necessarily use social media as their primary source of information.
Biomedical engineering sophomore Andrew Le said he does not often seek out news, but will hear it on the radio going to school.
Aerospace engineering sophomore Samuel Njogo said he gets most of his news from National Public Radio. He says he tries not to get his news from Facebook, but if he’s there, it’s going to pop up and he might read it. He also frequents Vox.
“Not Fox,” he said. “Vox with a ‘V.’”
Aerospace engineering freshman Anna Llamas said she keeps the CNN app on her phone and gets notifications for breaking news. She also discussed the supposed mainstream social media news biases.
“They know what you’ve liked, who you’re following, who you’re liking as pages,” Llamas said. “Figures they’re going to target you.”