TikTok Influencers overtaking journalists as news source, report claims

  • June 14, 2023

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Source: The Daily Star

According to a survey released Wednesday by the UK-based Reuters Institute, TikTok influencers and celebrities are gradually replacing journalists as the primary source of news for young people.

According to the survey, 55 percent of TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram users get their news from “personalities,” compared to 33-42 percent who get it from mainstream media and journalists on those platforms, which are most popular among young people.

The results are based on 94,000 interviews done for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which is part of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

“While mainstream journalists frequently lead news-related conversations on Twitter and Facebook, they struggle to gain attention on newer networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok,” according to the survey.

Nic Newman, the lead author, singled out people like Britain’s Matt Welland, who uses TikTok to discuss current events and daily life with his 2.8 million followers.

“Or it could be a celebrity like a footballer talking about a topical news event,” he said AFP, referring to midfielder Marcus Rashford’s 2020 push to win free school lunches for impoverished children.

For young people, “news” means more than simply politics and international relations. It also means “anything new that is happening in any walk of life: sports, entertainment, celebrity gossip, current affairs, culture, arts, technology…” he added.

Facebook is the most popular source of news among social networks worldwide, but its influence is waning, with only 28% reporting they use it to acquire news, down from 42% in 2016.

This is most likely due to Facebook’s transition away from news-sharing and toward an emphasis on friends and family, as well as young people’s preference for video-based apps such as TikTok and YouTube.

TikTok now reaches 44% of 18-24-year-olds, and 20% obtain their news from the app, up 5% from last year.

The largest difficulty for traditional news organizations is the decreasing amount of people who go directly to their websites rather than depending on social media links (22 percent, down 10 points since 2018).