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Faith Nyasuguta

Kenya has taken the world by storm, emerging as the global leader in TikTok usage, as revealed by the latest Reuters Institute Digital News report for 2023.

With an astounding 54% share of global TikTok usage, Kenya has firmly established itself as the TikTok capital. Interestingly, 29% of TikTok activity in Kenya revolves around staying informed with news updates.

This surge of TikTok as a platform for news distribution signifies a significant shift in how information is consumed, particularly among younger audiences. While traditional giants like Facebook witness a drop in popularity, TikTok has become the go-to destination for accessing news content.

Users of TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat demonstrate a strong preference for following celebrities and social media influencers to stay updated on current affairs, bringing a fresh perspective to the news landscape.

Joining Kenya on the TikTok frontiers, Thailand secures the second spot, while South Africa proudly claims the third position. Thailand’s TikTok community engages in a diverse range of content, with 50% dedicated to general usage and interaction, while South Africa’s TikTok users actively seek news updates, accounting for 22% of their TikTok activity.

The study sheds light on an intriguing aspect of news consumption behaviour. Audiences are selectively avoiding news stories that evoke sadness or anxiety as they prioritise their mental well-being. In an effort to safeguard their emotional health, they gravitate towards uplifting and inspiring content, handpicking their news sources with care.

TikTok’s meteoric rise cannot be denied. As the fastest-growing social network, it captivates the attention of 44% of its users, particularly resonating with the younger demographic aged 18 to 24. This expansion of TikTok’s influence opens up new avenues for businesses and content creators to connect with a wider audience and shape the narrative of news dissemination.

While Facebook and Twitter continue to wield their influence over legacy social networks, the emergence of TikTok as a formidable player in news consumption signifies a profound transformation in the media landscape. As African users increasingly turn to TikTok for their daily information fix, it becomes imperative for businesses and news organizations to adapt their strategies and cater to the evolving needs and preferences of this dynamic audience.

Kenya’s trailblazing success on TikTok paves the way for a new era of news consumption. African businesses and media outlets must remain attuned to these trends, harnessing the platform’s potential to engage and inform the vibrant communities across the continent.

By embracing the transformative power of TikTok and its impact on news distribution, Africa can stride confidently into a future where information is easily accessible, engaging, and tailored to the diverse needs of its population.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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