Pew: 26 Percent of Adults Get Their News from YouTube

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Sarah Shoemaker 2019 / Elle Imaging; edit BBN

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that about 26 percent of adult Americans get most of their news from  Google-owned YouTube. News viewership on the platform is split evenly between the channels of news organizations and independent news sources and commentators.

In a survey released by the Pew Research Center this week, 26 percent of U.S. adults say that their primary news sources is YouTube. This includes 23 percent viewing videos posted by news organizations to YouTube and 23 percent watching independent YouTube news channels. Researchers surveyed 12,638 U.S. adults for the survey.

The authors of the study wrote: “The study finds a news landscape on YouTube in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side — and consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch.”

“External news organizations” are defined in the report as traditional media companies such as the New York Times as well as online outlets such as BuzzFeed. Independent YouTube channels can include anyone from random YouTubers to celebrities such as John Oliver.

Pew’s report draws attention to a number of differences between traditional and independent sources. According to Pew, independent channels seem to focus mainly on personalities rather than presenting stories as a news organization and are more likely to focus on conspiracy theory topics. 3,000 videos from the top 100 YouTube news channels in November and December 2019 were analyzed as part of the report and it as discovered that 4 percent involved conspiracy theories of some sort.

Breitbart News recently reported that YouTube is increasing its efforts to fight “misinformation” ahead of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. In a blog post, the site announced a number of changes including the addition of authoritative information panels about presidential candidates that will appear ahead of video search results.

Leslie Miller, YouTube’s VP of government affairs and public policy, stated in the blog post: “As we approach November 3, we’re working hard to make YouTube a more reliable source for news and information, as well as an open platform for healthy political discourse.”

YouTube is specifically focusing on providing information relating to mail-in voting in an attempt to combat what it considers misinformation. Videos dealing with voting by mail will now include an info panel under the video directing viewers to a think tank report from the Bipartisan Policy Center titled “Voting by Mail Counts.”

Read more at Breitbart News here. 

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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