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Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook and Twitter are declining as news and media referral sources on mobile, according to a report from traffic analytics company Chartbeat, which finds that users are increasingly using search for news as well as migrating to publisher and news aggregation apps.

Why it matters: The increase of social media distribution on smartphones meant that more people generally had access to more news and information than ever before, but a lot of it was unvetted, one-sided or outright false.

Between the lines: Three market forces are pushing news traffic to come from places other than traditional forms of social media...

  1. Facebook's January 2017 decision to begin distributing less news, which is pushing more people to access news traffic from sources directly via search.
  2. A commitment to higher-quality news aggregation services from device manufacturers.
  3. A narrative around fake news on social media that's pushing consumers to look elsewhere for authoritative news and information.

The big picture: Since January 2017, per Chartbeat...

  • Twitter and Facebook have declined in their share of traffic sent to news sites.
  • Facebook traffic to publishers is down so much (nearly 40%) that according to Chartbeat, "a user is now more likely to find your content through your mobile website or app than from Facebook."
  • Google Search on mobile has grown more than 2x, helping guide users to stories on publishers' owned and operated channels.
  • Direct mobile traffic to publishers's websites and apps has also steadily grown by more than 30%.
  • Flipboard has grown 2x in news referrals. It is the default news app on Samsung devices in the United States.
  • Google News (Mobile) has grown 3x since May 2018. It is the default app on "Stock" Android devices globally.
  • Apple News has grown, although it's unclear how much. It is the default news aggregator on iOS with certain products in the U.S., UK and Australia.

The bottom line: At a high-level, it's an example of how new technologies can be partially regulated by market pressure (and threats of democratic government regulation) over time.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.

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