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Millennials Get Their Political News From Facebook - But Not on Purpose

The younger, Internet-savvy generation gets its political news from Facebook far more than local news or other sources trusted by older generations.
An unidentified 11-year-old girl logs into Facebook on her iPhone at her home in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, June 4, 2012. Paul Sakuma / AP file

The younger, Internet-savvy generation known as the Millennials gets its political news from Facebook far more than from local news or other sources trusted by older generations — but they're not doing so on purpose. A Pew Research Center study found that 61 percent of Millennials (aged 18-33 currently) get political news from Facebook at least once a week, compared with 39 percent of Baby Boomers (aged 50-68). Local TV was the more likely source for the older set, followed by national networks. Generation X, which falls between the two in age, also fell neatly between them in preferences and habits tracked by the Pew study.

Pew Research Center

But young folks don't seem to visit Facebook with the specific intention of getting the latest political updates. When asked where they choose to get their political news from, only 3 percent of Millennials reported Facebook — instead preferring CNN and online news aggregators like Google and Yahoo! News. They're not even as interested in politics, the Pew study found (which has generally been the case for the age group). So what's with all the politics on the social network?

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It's simple: Millennials simply spend way more time on Facebook than older generations, and use it for more reasons. So it's not just more political news they're seeing, but more of everything.