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82% of Americans Say Social Media Companies Treat Some News Outlets Differently Than Others

More than half of Americans get their news from social media, new Pew Research study finds

The vast majority of Americans — 82% — say that social media sites treat some news organizations differently than others, according to a new survey released by Pew Research on Thursday.

That group also believes social media sites favor news outlets that produce attention-grabbing articles (88%), those with a high number of social media followers (84%) and those whose coverage has a certain political stance (79%).

The survey, conducted July 8-21 among 5,107 U.S. adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, also found that social media has become a news source for a majority of Americans for the first time. According to the poll, 55% of American adults get their news from social media often or sometimes, which is up from 47% in 2018.

More American adults consider one-sided and inaccurate news shared on social media to be a “very big problem” than they consider censorship of the news to be a “very big problem.”

About half of those polled said one-sided or inaccurate news falls in the “very big problem” category, while 35% thought censorship was a “very big problem,” which is the same amount who labeled uncivil discussion of the news a “very big problem” on social media, too.

Almost half of social media news consumers — 48% — say they see “liberal” or “very liberal” news posts and just 14% say the news posts they see are “conservative” or “very conservative.” Comparatively, 36% say the news they see is “moderate.”