Facebook is vital for news distribution

Social notworking site Facebook has become a vital tool for the distribution of news, according to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.

While we have pointed out how all powerful Google has been, the 2011 Pew Study shows that Facebook is fast becoming an important traffic mover and shaker in the world of online news.

At the moment, Google is still the Grand Poobah of Internet news and decides what most people will read, but it is looking like Facebook will be fighting the search outfit for its crown.

Pew said in the report that if searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important thing in the next.

Facebook drives up to eight percent of traffic to some of the Internet’s top news sites. Users often leave these sites to go to Facebook, which the researchers say is an indication that the Facebook Share buttons provided on many news stories work.

However the social notworking site is still a long way behind Google for now. The top three traffic drivers are Google, the Drudge Report and Yahoo and these three sites account for more than 10 percent of the traffic to any one major site

Obviously this is US based. The Drudge Report is a right-wing political news aggregator which gave 19 percent of the New York Post its readers.

The report was based on the traffic number for 25 different online news outlets, which include NYTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com, HuffingtonPost.com, Yahoo! News, Google News, Reuters, AOL News, and CNN. The researchers took their traffic numbers from a variety of sources, including Nielsen, ComScore and Hitwise.

The report said that Twitter is a terrible traffic driver and only has a small role in sharing of links to news sources. Twitter showed up as referring links to just nine. And for all but one of those nine, Twitter sent only about one percent of total traffic.”