Number of users who access news through TikTok doubles to 43%

Anne Freer | November 17, 2023

App Business

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center has revealed a significant shift in news consumption habits among TikTok users in 2023. According to the study, the percentage of users accessing news through the app has surged from 22% to 43%. What’s happening?

More users are checking news on TikTok

According to the study, which was based on a survey of 8,842 US adults conducted between September 25 and October 1, 2023, a growing number of social media users are checking the news on these platforms.

While traditional news websites and apps continue to be popular, with 67% of respondents indicating their usage, the remarkable increase in news consumption on TikTok highlights the platform’s ability to shape narratives and engage users with current affairs.

This could raise some red flags among critics particularly when it comes to the spreading of fake news and news manipulation. TikTok is primarily a short-form video platform, which may not always provide in-depth or reliable news coverage. Users may be exposed to sensationalized or misleading information. The rapid spread of news on TikTok could also make it susceptible to manipulation and the dissemination of fake news, which can have real-world consequences.

What’s more, its user base is predominantly younger, and they may have less experience discerning credible news sources from unreliable ones, making them more vulnerable to misinformation.

Social media used for news access

Source: Pew Research Center

In the realm of social media platforms serving as sources for news, Facebook maintains its top position as the most popular choice among Americans, with 30% of the population reporting regular access to news content on the platform. Not far behind is YouTube, with a close 26% following, while Instagram and TikTok trail with 16% and 14%, respectively. Despite Meta’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of news content across its platforms, Facebook continues to demonstrate robust news consumption, underscoring its enduring relevance in the media landscape.

Who’s consuming news on social media?

The study also sheds light on distinct demographic patterns in news consumption across various platforms. Women are more likely to be regular news consumers on platforms like Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Conversely, men tend to dominate platforms such as Reddit, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Of particular interest, X, formerly known as Twitter, presents a balanced political split among its regular news consumers, with 46% identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning and 49% as Democrat or Democratic-leaning. This reflects the platform’s diverse user base and political engagement.

Platform preferences among app users

Pew Research Center

As social media platforms continue to play a pivotal role in shaping how audiences access and engage with news content, news organisations are adapting their strategies to capture the attention of TikTok’s substantial Gen Z audience. This highlights the dynamic nature of the digital news landscape and the evolving strategies needed to remain relevant.

In another notable shift, Gen Z’s approach to discovering groceries is increasingly turning to digital channels. Recent research indicates that a significant 28.0% of Gen Z consumers have adopted search engines as their primary resource for exploring grocery items, showcasing the evolving consumer behaviour in the grocery sector.

Key takeaways

  • TikTok’s news consumption doubled from 22% to 43% in 2023
  • 30% of Americans access news on Facebook, maintaining its top position
  • Women prefer Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for news, while men dominate Reddit, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube

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