Have you ever asked yourself what you are doing on social media? Are you using Twitter to update your friends and family about what’s happening in your life? Or are you using Twitter primarily for something else? Maybe it’s to market products for your small business. Or perhaps, it’s to learn about the latest news, even if you recently got caught by Elon Musk for buying Twitter followers.
Lots of people have not realized this, even though Twitter effectively just killed “Twitter Moments”. But most of them use Twitter mainly to know about the latest happenings around them. It’s unsurprising. You can post about a forest fire while it’s happening. And the word itself spreads like wildfire. People would know about it in mere minutes – seconds, even.
According to Twitter, one of the biggest reasons people come to the platform is to learn about current events. It does not matter if it’s about sports, politics, world & local news, entertainment, tech, or health. Twitter has become the host to some relevant conversations about anything happening in the world.
That finding is valuable for Twitter. It helps the company understand and better serve people’s interests. Secondly, it gives the company motivation to continue its work on improving people’s experience on Twitter. The information highlights the importance of Twitter’s efforts in addressing misinformation and adding helpful context to tweets. It lets Twitter keep people better informed about the news they consume on the platform.
Twitter has compiled learnings from studies Twitter has performed with YouGov and Sparkler. On top of that are internal Twitter data and third-party research from groups like YouGov and Pew Research.
They conducted these studies and surveys with respondents in the US unless otherwise noted.
Twitter made the data available to give users visibility into some of these findings. Let’s have a look.
Stats About News Consumption on Twitter
The findings from the studies revealed that Twitter users are avid news consumers. Most of them are mostly interested in politics and current events. They also regularly tweet about it.
For starters, the studies revealed that 94% of the respondents are interested in current events. Then, 75% of people who come to Twitter for news follow news about politics and current events.
And speaking of that, 55% of Twitter users get their news from Twitter, more than other social media platforms. Furthermore, 85% of people on Twitter watch, read, or listen to the news at least once a day. Relating to that, 3 out of 4 people who come to Twitter for news do so at least once a day.
Users don’t only come to Twitter to check the news; they also spread them. The studies found that 83% of people on Twitter tweet about the news.
In fact, there are plenty of tweets about news in the first half of 2022 alone. There are 4.6 billion tweets about news in the US and 10.4 billion tweets about news globally.
Twitter: A Tool for Connecting People With News Outlets and Journalists
Twitter doesn’t only inform people about current events. It also facilitates the discovery of news outlets and journalists.
Over 80% of young journalists ages 19 – 29 say Twitter is their social media platform of choice for their job. And it’s a solid choice. The studies found that:
- 50% of people on Twitter have followed an account related to international news in the past year.
- 60% of people on Twitter have followed an account related to US national news in the past year.
- 55% of people on Twitter have followed an account related to local news in the past year.
- 50% of people on Twitter have followed a journalist on social media in the past year.
It’s not just young journalists that benefit from Twitter’s existence. The studies also revealed that 62% of Twitter news consumers say the platform helps them find news outlets to follow.
Why is This the Case?
People could have chosen Facebook or Instagram to learn about current events. But they did not (or at least they are not people’s first choice for consuming news). Why?
It could be because of the platforms’ identities. Instagram used to be a photo-centered platform. Then, its focus has now shifted to short-form videos. Regardless, people use it more for entertainment and product discovery.
Meanwhile, Facebook is more for connecting with your loved ones.
On the other hand, Twitter is all about public conversations. You can see a person’s tweets even though you are not following them. Also, you can reply to those tweets or retweet them. That makes information spread faster on Twitter than on other social media platforms.
And public conversations are about what? Most of the time, they are about the latest happenings.
You also have to consider the reliability of Twitter as a news source. People will laugh at you if you say you learned something from TikTok. It’s not credible. Yes, there’s still a chance what you saw on Twitter is fake news. But it’s more reliable.
That’s because of Twitter’s efforts to stop misinformation. Twitter identifies misleading information by consulting with external subject matter experts. It takes action depending on the potential offline harm of the misleading content. Twitter either limits the tweet’s amplification or takes it down.
Furthermore, Twitter punishes those who spread misinformation. Repeated violators could face temporary or permanent suspensions from the platform.
Additionally, there is Birdwatch – a collaborative way to add helpful context to tweets. Birdwatch is a group of contributors who help identify what they believe is misleading information and leave notes. The notes provide informative context. That helps people on Twitter easily spot fake news.
Things Are Going to be Even Better
Analysis from Twitter’s team and feedback from Birdwatch contributors and Twitter’s academic advisory board brings good news. Birdwatch is getting upgrades, so buy them some real Twitter followers today!
Twitter says that it is rolling out a new onboarding process for Birdwatch. Furthermore, it is improving the visibility of notes to increase their positive impact and enable healthier Twitter conversations.
With that, Twitter will become an even more popular choice for consuming news.