Kenya has emerged as the global leader in TikTok usage, according to the recent Reuters Institute Digital News report 2023 survey. With an astonishing 54% of users actively engaging with the platform, Kenya dominates TikTok for various purposes, with 29% specifically relying on it for news consumption. Following closely behind, Thailand secures the second spot, while South Africa takes third place, with 50% of users utilizing TikTok for general content and 22% relying on it as a news source.
The report highlights the significant reach of the Chinese-owned social network, which captures the attention of 44% of individuals aged 18-24 across various markets, with a 20% engagement rate for news. Notably, TikTok is experiencing rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America regions. The study also reveals a shift in audience preferences, with a greater focus on celebrities, influencers, and social media personalities rather than traditional journalists on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Furthermore, the report indicates a transformation in the landscape of social media, with declining engagement observed on traditional networks like Facebook and the emergence of video-led platforms like TikTok and others. The younger generations, who have grown up with social media, demonstrate a stronger inclination towards influencers and celebrities, even for news consumption.
Regarding news consumption across all age groups, the report identifies Facebook as the most significant network, aggregating 28% usage across 12 countries. However, this represents a decline of 14 points from its peak in 2016 (42%). Facebook has been gradually distancing itself from news, reducing the visibility of news stories in users’ feeds (as low as 3% according to the company’s latest figures from March 2023). Additionally, Facebook has scaled back on direct payments to publishers and other initiatives supporting journalism.
The report also sheds light on the growing influence of YouTube as a news source, often overlooked in comparison to TikTok. Together, the rise of TikTok and YouTube underscores the ongoing shift towards video-led social networks, signaling a changing landscape in the way people consume news.