Global Markets

Kenya, Thailand and South Africa lead in TikTok Usage

According to a recent Reuters Institute Digital News report 2023 poll, Kenya tops the world in TikTok usage. Kenya dominates the site, with 54% of users using TikTok for various purposes, including news consumption (29% particularly). Thailand comes in second, closely followed by South Africa, where 50% of users use TikTok for general content and 22% for news.

According to the survey, the Chinese-owned social network reaches 44% of 18-24s in all markets and 20% for news. It is expanding the fastest in Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. It goes on to say that on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, viewers are paying more attention to celebrities, influencers, and social media personalities than to journalists.

The report also emphasizes how the nature of social media is evolving, as evidenced by falling interaction with traditional networks such as Facebook and the rise of TikTok and other video-led networks.

‘Our data reveal, more clearly than ever, how this trend is greatly impacted by the habits of the youngest generations, who have grown up with social media and now frequently pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news,’ adds the report.

When it comes to news consumption, the report observes that Facebook remains the most important network (across 12 countries) at 28%, but it is currently 14 points lower than its 2016 peak (42%). Facebook has been distancing itself from news for some time, reducing the percentage of news stories people see in their feed (3% according to the company’s most recent figures from March 2023), but in the last year it has also reduced direct payments to publishers and other journalism-supporting schemes. ‘’The advent of YouTube as a news source is frequently overlooked, but it, along with the rise of TikTok, indicates the trend toward video-led networks.

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