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[REPORT] TikTok Overtakes X For News: Why 13% Of People Are Turning To The Video App

Reuters Institute has released the Digital News Report 2024. The study, which surveyed almost 100,000 people across 47 markets, shows a significant shift in news consumption patterns, particularly among younger audiences. 

A key takeaway is that TikTok has surpassed X (formerly Twitter) as a news source, with 13% of respondents using the video-sharing platform for weekly news. This marks a 2% increase from the previous year and represents the first time TikTok has outpaced X, which stands at 10% usage for news. YouTube remains the most popular video platform for news, used by 31% of respondents weekly, while WhatsApp is used by 21%.

[REPORT] TikTok Overtakes X For News: Why 13% Of People Are Turning To The Video App

The report indicates a broader trend of news consumption fragmenting across multiple platforms. Six networks now reach at least 10% of respondents for news, compared to just two a decade ago. This diversification comes as Facebook’s usage for news continues to decline, dropping 4 percentage points across all countries in the last year.

Video is becoming an increasingly important news format, especially for younger demographics. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents access short news videos weekly, with higher consumption rates outside the US and Western Europe. In Thailand, 87% access short-form videos weekly, with 50% doing so daily. By contrast, in the UK, only 39% consume short-form news videos weekly, with 9% doing so daily.

[REPORT] TikTok Overtakes X For News: Why 13% Of People Are Turning To The Video App

The shift towards video platforms is changing the dynamics of news consumption. While traditional news brands and journalists often lead conversations on X and Facebook, they struggle to gain as much attention on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. On these platforms, alternative sources, online influencers, and celebrities often garner prominence.

The report highlights examples of successful news creators on various platforms. In France, 27-year-old Hugo Travers, aka “Hugo Décrypte,” has become a leading news source for young French people, with 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube and 5.8 million on TikTok. In the UK, channels like Politics Joe and TLDR News are attracting attention for making serious topics accessible to young audiences.

Despite the growth in video news consumption, only 4% of respondents across countries use online video exclusively for news each week. The majority use a mix of text, video, and audio, combining mainstream brands with alternative voices.

The study also reveals concerns about the reliability of content on various platforms. TikTok users express the highest level of difficulty in distinguishing between trustworthy and untrustworthy content, with 27% saying they struggle to detect trustworthy news. X follows closely, with 24% of its users reporting similar difficulties.

[REPORT] TikTok Overtakes X For News: Why 13% Of People Are Turning To The Video App

Overall, 59% of respondents across markets express concern about what is real and fake on the internet, a 3% increase from the previous year. This concern is highest in countries holding elections, such as South Africa (81%), the United States (72%), and the UK (70%).

Reuters researchers suggest that these shifts in news consumption present challenges for publishers. As audiences consume more content on third-party platforms, they may focus less on the source of the content and more on the convenience and choice delivered within their feed. This trend creates a difficult balancing act for publishers trying to engage audiences through video. Read the full report here.

Nii A. Ahene

Nii A. Ahene is the founder and managing director of Net Influencer, a website dedicated to offering insights into the influencer marketing industry. Together with its newsletter, Influencer Weekly, Net Influencer provides news, commentary, and analysis of the events shaping the creator and influencer marketing space. Through interviews with startups, influencers, brands, and platforms, Nii and his team explore how influencer marketing is being effectively used to benefit businesses and personal brands alike.

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