People get their daily news feed from social networking sites, a recent Pew study suggests, and that may be quite worrisome to some.
Allowing Facebook and Twitter to pick the news for you may be a double-edged sword, some critics believe. Facebook, for instance, is no longer that small-chat site that allows you to flirt and stalk online friends or foes.
Well, it still allows you to do that, but in the meantime, it also holds control on a huge share of the mobile advertising business, harvests huge heaps of user data, and uses AI-based algorithms to better know your habits.
Washington-based Pew Research Center released a study July 14 that shows social networking platforms play an ever increasingly role in how we pick our daily news.
Facebook uses smart algorithms to even tell you what you may be interested in in your News Feed. Based on the information it had harvested on you, including the time you spend starring at a post, Facebook selects the information that may best suit your interests. Yet, people who want a firm control on what they read may be upset.
During their research, Pew researchers surveyed 2,035 users of the two major networking sites. About 65 percent of Twitter users said that they got their news via their Twitter accounts. Sixty-three percent of Facebook users reported the same thing.
Past studies had shown that Facebook users used their accounts to keep in touch with friends, but the recent Pew study reveals a shifting trend. Most people on social media sites now also use the platforms to read news articles. The figures revealed by Pew are considerably higher than those surfaced by a 2013 research led by Pew investigators on the same topic.
Last summer, a quick survey from the center revealed that less than 50 percent of Facebook users read the news from the site.
The recent study also showed that, male Facebook users are more likely to read the news than their female peers. Additionally, young people are more likely to read and comment on the news from their Twitter accounts.
But those trends can only be the result of massive campaigns conducted by both companies in the last year to convince people to use their sites as reliable sources of news, as well.
Last month, Facebook rolled out the “Trending” feature which provides users with a round-the-clock updated news feed. Plus, users who want to read a piece are no longer redirected to sites located outside the Facebook ecosystem since more and more news outlets agreed to publish directly their stories on the site.
Image Source: LA Times