TikTok Is Becoming the Go-To News Source for the Under-30 Set

While other social media platforms saw declines, TikTok news consumption is up, according to a Pew survey

A finger reaching for the TikTok app on their smartphone screen
Is TikTok how you get your news?
Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty

If you’re a frequent visitor to TikTok, what’s the primary attraction? For some, it might be memes. For others, it could be anything from food trends to commentary on movies. Sometimes, unexpected songs go viral on the platform. But there’s another reason that a growing cohort of users under the age of 30 are heading to TikTok: they view it as a place to get their news.

Writing at Quartz, Scott Nover cited a recent survey from the Pew Research Center about news and social media. Perhaps the most eye-catching figure from the survey in question? Of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 29, 26% say that “they regularly get news from TikTok.”

Out of all adults in the U.S., that figure is at 10%. But nearly every age group has experienced growth from 2020 to 2021, and then from 2021 to 2022. The only exception is people over the age of 65 — and even there, there’s slight growth from 2020 to 2022.

Quartz points out that nearly all social media websites showed a decline in the number of users getting news through them, with TikTok and Instagram being the only two that showed an overall increase between 2020 and 2022.

How you feel about this news is likely to be influenced by how you feel about TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and which has been enmeshed in controversies recently about whether or not it can track users’ locations or keystrokes. And while TikTok’s rise compared to other social media platforms may be indicative of a generational shift, it feels less revolutionary and more like online users trading one algorithm for another.

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