With well over a billion users between them, Facebook and Twitter dominate the world of social media, and have quickly established themselves as an increasingly pivotal cog in the world of news distribution.

But according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, that cog might not be as substantial as we perhaps suspected, as Pew’s study has revealed that just 9 percent of U.S. adults receive news updates on a frequent basis via these channels.

Pew’s data comes via its 2012 State Of The News Media report, which polled a nationally representative sample of over three thousand adults in the United States. Pew discovered that users are far more likely to go directly to a news website or app, search online or visit a news aggregator than head to Twitter or Facebook to receive their news fix.

The study also revealed that smartphone and tablet users are more likely to receive news via social media than those on other devices.

There’s also an interesting disconnect between how users receive news on the two social platforms. Facebook users are far more likely to receive news updates via friends and family, while those on Twitter get news from a broader range of sources.

This makes sense, of course, as Facebook is still very much a ‘friends and family’ social network for a lot of users. It’s almost the complete opposite on Twitter, where users are more likely to meet and follow new people and profiles, as opposed to only those individuals that they already know.

Moreover, news on Twitter is seen as more unique, with the majority of people (56 percent) thinking that news on Facebook is something that they would have already seen somewhere else.

Pew’s study also suggested that Twitter users are more likely to be male and own a smartphone than their Facebook counterparts. You can read the full breakdown of the Pew report on their website.

(News image via Shutterstock.)