Updated Nov 15, 2023 - Technology

Americans flock to TikTok for news

Change in the share of social media sites' users who say they regularly get news there
Data: Pew Research; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

The share of TikTok users who consume news through the platform has nearly doubled since 2020, according to new Pew Research Center data.

Why it matters: News organizations, business leaders and brands are being forced to evolve and meet audiences where they are in order to break through.

What's happening: The Pew study shows that news consumers have accelerated their shift toward digital channels in the past year.

  • Americans are roughly twice as likely to say they prefer getting news on digital devices (58%) than television (27%).
  • Meanwhile, audience preference for radio and print media remains roughly stagnant at 6% and 5% respectively.

State of play: Roughly half of Americans say they get some news from social media platforms.

  • News audiences are increasing the most on TikTok and Instagram. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitch and Nextdoor are also gaining traction as news sources.
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Roughly one-third of adults under age 30 regularly scroll TikTok for news, a 255% increase since 2020.

  • The TikTok increase is taking place across all age demographics, not just younger Americans.

Zoom in: Women make up a greater portion of regular news consumers on Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, while men are more likely to opt for platforms like Reddit, X and YouTube.

Yes, but: As big social media platforms move away from supporting news links, headlines and content, users seeking news content may be leaning more heavily on search engines, traditional news sites or aggregation apps.

What to watch: The kind of news content favored by platforms like TikTok, which is all short-form video and typically user-generated, may get penalized by Google and other search engines.

  • Google has long relied on a complex algorithm to prioritize content that the company views as authoritative, credible and trustworthy.
  • The more Google offers search results via conversational AI, the more likely it is to get even pickier about choosing sources.
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