Are Facebook newspaper apps encouraging more young people to read the news?

Social media strikes again – New Facebook newspaper apps allow you read more than just what your friends are doing
I’ve been seeing this new ‘articles read’ feature all over my Facebook news feed recently.  Newspapers including The Guardian, the Washington Post, the Independent and The Daily allow you to read popular articles via the site and share what you and others are reading – and it seems to be very popular with people my age.

On my PR course, we’re encouraged to read papers (both in print and on-line) and to keep up to date with current news. I try to buy at least one physical copy every week, but admittedly I rely on the on-line websites more. However, if you ask people of my age group the majority will say that they do not buy a newspaper daily.

The Guardian in particular, has benefited from the introduction of their app launched in September, in a partnership with the social network. It already has 800 million users around the world.

A statement from Guardian News & Media said around 56.7% of its Facebook app users were 24 years or under while 17.6% were 17 years or under. In a statement, Andrew Miller, chief executive officer of Guardian Media Group said: “As well as increasing traffic, the app is making our journalism visible to new audiences. Over half of the app’s users are 24 and under – traditionally a very hard-to-reach demographic for news organisations.”

One thing I’ve noticed is that some of the most popular articles are not current affairs at all, and can date back up to 10 years. Albeit slightly annoying (I could care less if my second cousin is reading Girl finds condom in McDonald’s Happy Meal), if it gets those who usually don’t interacting with the news, particularly youngsters, it is undeniably a good thing.


One thought on “Are Facebook newspaper apps encouraging more young people to read the news?

  1. You raise some really good points. I think Facebook are jostling with Twitter for dominance of the social world. Twitter has a good track record of breaking news before anyone else (Osama Bin Laden’s death was revealed on Twitter!) however the noise can get very loud.

    Facebook has an advantage as it only displays stories friends have read from respectable, trusted publications, therefore you are more likely to click on the article – this is a similar to Google +’s search ranking feature. Nonetheless, it’s novel to live in a world where we no longer have to look for news, instead news finds us!

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