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Younger Generations Are Turning To TikTok As Their Source Of News


Younger Generations Are Turning To TikTok As Their Source Of News

It wouldn’t be a hyperbolic statement if someone were to claim that 2023 is all about TikTok, especially with younger crowds’ new consumption habits. As social media is a part of tech that never stops evolving, it’s difficult to say whether or not the platform will eventually be “de-throned”.

Throughout this article, we are going to break down the analytics and help you get a better understanding of how and where people are consuming news and why TikTok is becoming the platform of choice for younger generations looking to stay up to date on current news cycles.

With that being said let’s jump on in and take a look.

Younger Generations Are Turning To TikTok As Their Source Of News

Who Conducted the Survey?

The “2023 Reuters Institute Digital News Report” was conducted by Reuters Institute with the sole purpose of understanding where and how people were consuming their news. 

It’s not surprising that Reuters Institute conducted this report, after all the company is a UK-based thinktank dedicated to the study of journalism.

Survey Methodology

In the report that was conducted, in partnership with YouGov, there are responses from around 100,000 users from 52 countries around the world. 

The report that was conducted also included an in-depth analysis of the trends and the news engagements as a whole, along with what the latest trends are and how users feel about algorithmic interference, political left and right-wing bias, and criticisms about big media outlets, etc.

This report is a total of 160 pages long, there is tons of information that we aren’t even going to scratch the surface of today but feel free to download it and take a look for yourself here

Key Takeaways

To start, the data compiled has shown that the majority of people prefer to consume news via social media rather than the conventional ways of the past. 

Reuters social media news report

As per the chart in this diagram, you can see that the data is especially pronounced in user groups that are younger than 24 (the chart refers to the UK as an example), in which they found that they’re more likely to rely on social media for news content over publishing websites. 

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why publishing companies will be less than thrilled about that data point. That being said this may not account for those that end up on the site by clicking through to articles via Google search which is the number 1 traffic driver for most publishing sites.

In the data there are a lot of different things that show certain behaviors vary significantly depending on the region of the users. For individuals that live in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, it was found they were more likely to lean on social apps for news content, whereas in Asia-Pacific countries tend to go direct to news aggregators such as Yahoo, to stay up-to-date with the news.

Reuters social media news report

There’s a really important shift in usage taking place with this information. It shows us exactly how the apps have different levels of influence in different regions, and in later studies, it may be interesting to further look into the health of various regions and the local media industry in those locations where immediate access remains strong and how they are initiating support for their local press.

Furthermore, the data suggest some very interesting points pertaining to the evolving social media usage habits, which include an overview of how young users are shifting their attention to social media over time.

Reuters social media news report

The data suggests that Facebook and Instagram are in a downtrend while TikTok and WhatsApp are up-trending. Snapchat and Twitter on the other hand remain relatively stable showing no new signs of growth.

The growth of TikTok has been well documented, whereas the growth of WhatsApp is more of a byproduct of a more extensive trend about public sharing, where users now enjoy being more private and exclusive with who they share information. This of course is in opposition to being targeted to potential scrutiny and public humiliation or hate because of their ideologies. 

The data is shown in the chart below. 

Reuters social media news report

As of recent, people are becoming more private and not wanting to post their opinions on public forums at the same rate that they once used to. This in part is due to backlash, angst, potential division as well as the fact that the internet can come back to haunt you later down the line. This all plays a part in why people have been shying away from posting their actual opinions and ideologies online in a public manner.

This is the reason why Meta in particular is creating more usages and driving more innovation behind their Messages app. Another company actively looking into this issue is Twitter, which is expanding with new ways to engage its user base through private DM’s, through sharing directly with your peers. 

While both IG and Facebook continue to be the popular choice for users overall, they are obviously feeling the drought of innovation since TikTok has risen and become the primary interest in boasting new features. 

This style of social media has made it easier to consume and share entertaining content without needing to post in the same fashion that users would normally do so on IG and Facebook.

As far as content consumption is concerned, Facebook still remains one of the top forces when it comes to social apps, though it has had a negative downturn in recent years.

Reuters social media news report

If you’re looking for a form of media that has top-tier engagement, video is king. That’s why it’s not actually surprising to see both YouTube and TikTok gain more traction and outperform their competitors that don’t focus as much on video content. One concern people have voiced when talking on the social media platform TikTok is that there are potential risks for the Chinese government’s influence on the platform that has such a broad user base globally.

It also notes in the report that Twitter usage is still strong amongst the population since the change of management and acquisition made by Elon Musk, with users more likely to be engaged in news discussions.

While Twitter’s user base is still isn’t as high as other competitors they still have strength in user activity and engagement which more often than not is more related to current events, political affairs, and educational topics. This is good because people are also sharing their thoughts on these topics in ways that other platforms haven’t been able to generate in some time. This is why Twitter as far as an influential and authentic platform is far more significant than other platforms.

Becoming one of the most widely used and favorable social media platforms, TikTok is actually not only becoming a powerhouse because of the endless amount of content and countless videos displayed on the platform. Rather the company is boasting a massive 20% of users between 18-24 that use the app to stay up to date with news. This is a ⅓ increase from last year’s numbers which is huge because the demographic pool has also been increasing exponentially.

It’s important to keep in mind that with all this said, the overall interest in news is in a downward trend. This in part may have a lot to do with the credibility of the news and the relationship with users/consumers. A surprising, 40% have said that they have any degree of faith in the facts and figures that are provided by news outlets.

Of the people that responded to the survey, a staggering 56% said that they have a difficult time determining the facts from fiction within news media content. As a reference in 2017, 63% of people surveyed said that they were interested in the news highly and that they had interest in watching the news. This is why it is odd that that number has plummeted to 48% in 2023.

With the amount of misinformation being shared or reported on both news media and social media, it’s strange that a lot of younger users are turning to social media platforms when they’re often the ones scrutinized for spreading misinformation. It’s even more strange when you realize that the numbers don’t lie and that in the not-so-distant future people will most likely be turning to TikTok as their primary source of news if trends continue.

It should be noted that legacy news media is in jeopardy of becoming obsolete. Many media outlets are facing the harsh reality that they too may be wiped out if they don’t change their style of news and evolve their old-fashioned methods. 

Especially when we consider that the U.S. currently stands as the country with the least trust in news, with only a 32% trust rating.

Link to the Report

In this report, there is tons of information to look through and information to process. 

With the report being 160 pages long, there isn’t any possible way in which we would be able to cover everything in it and do it justice. If you have found this article interesting but are yearning for more and would like to look through the report on your own you can access the full 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News Report here.

Romilly Anne Glenton

Romilly A. Glenton is a Spain-based writer with a deep passion for the influencer economy and creator space. Her writings offer insightful perspectives on digital trends and the evolving landscape of social media influencers. Living in the heart of Spain, Romilly's work is infused with a unique blend of traditional cultural insights and modern digital developments. She skillfully dissects viral trends and influencer marketing strategies, making complex topics accessible and engaging. Her articles are not just informative, but a reflection of her own journey through the rapidly changing digital world. When she's not writing, Romilly enjoys exploring Spain's rich culture, drawing inspiration for her insightful pieces.

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