As per the findings of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2023 survey, Kenya has emerged as the global leader in TikTok usage.
A significant 54% of users in Kenya actively engage with TikTok for a variety of purposes, with 29% specifically relying on the platform for news consumption. Thailand secures the second position, closely followed by South Africa, where 50% of users engage with TikTok for general content, while 22% utilize it as a news source.
The report highlights the profound influence of the youngest generations on this shifting trend. Having grown up with social media, these individuals often prioritize influencers or celebrities over journalists, even when it comes to news consumption. The report states, “Our data show, more clearly than ever, how this shift is strongly influenced by habits of the youngest generations, who have grown up with social media and nowadays often pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news.” Furthermore, it emphasizes the growing significance of video-led networks, exemplified by the rise of TikTok in conjunction with the expansion of YouTube as a news source.
Regarding news consumption, the report underscores that Facebook remains the most influential network (across 12 countries) with respect to user engagement, accounting for 28% of usage. However, this figure represents a decline of 14 percentage points compared to its peak in 2016 (42%). Over time, Facebook has distanced itself from news content by reducing the visibility of news stories in users’ feeds (now at 3%, according to the company’s latest figures from March 2023). Additionally, the platform has scaled back on direct payments to publishers and other initiatives supporting journalism within the past year.