(CN) — The Covid-19 pandemic has been dominating news airways, but a Wednesday study from the Pew Research Center says Americans who rely on social media for political coverage are not following virus news as closely as others.
Researchers found that only 4 in 10 of U.S. adults who rely on social media for political and election news are very closely following coverage on Covid-19. Overall, however, 80% are at least fairly closely following the coverage.
Alternatively, 65% of respondents who use cable television as their main source for political news are very closely following the pandemic coverage.
A closer look at the 18% of adults who use social media for news show that they are younger, less interested in political news and most likely to be Hispanic. Plus, they are not necessarily leaning toward any political party.
The survey results show that local television watchers are not far behind the social media users with only 44% following Covid-19 coverage very closely.
Most U.S. adults are at least fairly closely following the coverage on various platforms such as print (89%), national television (94%) and on websites (92%).
Pew conducted the survey of 8,914 U.S. adults between March 10 and March 16. It found that social media users have also found some misinformation regarding the pandemic.
More than half (57%) say they have seen at least some coverage on social media that appears made up. Respondents who get their news from print platforms do not see the same misinformation, with only 37% saying they’ve seen made-up news.
Further, 70% of social media users say the media is exaggerating the risk associated with the virus, along with 69% of radio news consumers feeling the same.
When questioning respondents when they thought a vaccine for the virus would be available, only 4 in 10 social media users say that it would take over a year, an answer that coincides with health experts. Granted, 33% said they simply did not know.
Compared to over half (59%) of cable television news consumers saying a vaccine would take over a year, only 32% of local news consumers had the same answer.
While social media news consumers are more likely to say that the virus was created in a lab, the study notes that this relates to the fact that younger respondents were more likely to give this answer regardless of what platform they get their news from.
The study is a part of Pew’s Election News Pathway project and all of the respondents are members of Pew’s American Trends Panel.