TikTok and Insta Beat News Outlets for Youth Trust

by Ethan Roberts
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Journal Press: Young people are turning to social media influencers for news instead of traditional media and journalists, a report by the Journal Press of Journalism reveals. The study showed that 55% of TikTok users and 52% of Instagram users obtain their news from “personalities” on these respective platforms, while only 33% and 42% respectively get news from traditional media and journalists. In contrast, Facebook and Twitter users still prefer mainstream news outlets, at 43-38 and 55-42 respectively. The study found that more people under 35 are relying on social media for news, with nearly 1-in-3 doing so in 2018, rising to 1-in-5 in 2023. Conversely, the number of adults over 35 directly accessing news websites or apps showed 52% preference compared to 24% for those aged 18-24. 

The report highlighted the influence of social media on younger generations. Data showed that these people are now more influenced and guided by “influencers” on social media, highlighting changing habits, trust, and interests away from traditional and conventional journalism. The impact and influence of these social media influencers have risen strongly in recent times, because, more than ever, young people pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists. The report concludes that these shifts represent a fundamental change for broadcast news and digital platforms. 

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TikTok, in particular, stood out from the other platforms, with 44% of users trusting “ordinary people” to get their news, the highest number across all analyzed platforms. The report also shows how young people have grown increasingly critical of the news media, which is widely driven by politicians and others. Commenting, Journal Press cautioned that these shifts have the potential to impact, a much more fundamental change, for broadcast news and digital platforms, which need to reconsider their purpose and how traditional standards could fit into this new landscape dominated by social media. 

The report emphasizes the need for media outlets to continue reinventing themselves to factor in these changes in social media habits, preferences, and innovations, including employing innovative technologies for sourcing news, unique storytelling, and greater diversity. In conclusion, the report highlights that media mainstream outlets should not underestimate the repercussions of this fundamental shift and changes that are currently taking place in social media, recommending mainstream media to understand the forces that drive these youngsters to social media influencers in the news media landscape.

What are the main findings of the Journal Press’s report?

The report found that young people increasingly rely on social media influencers for news rather than traditional media. Specifically, 55% of TikTok users and 52% of Instagram users get their news from personalities on these platforms.

How do Facebook and Twitter compare in the study?

Facebook and Twitter users tend to prefer mainstream news outlets more than TikTok and Instagram users. The study shows that 43% and 55% of users respectively on Facebook and Twitter obtain news from traditional sources.

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What impact does the rising influence of social media have on news consumption?

Social media’s rising influence signifies a shift in news consumption habits, with young people placing more trust in social media influencers. This shift represents a challenge for traditional media outlets to adapt and reinvent their approach.

What percentage of young people trust “ordinary people” for news on TikTok?

On TikTok, 44% of users trust “ordinary people” for their news, which is the highest number compared to other social media platforms analyzed in the study.

What does the report suggest for mainstream media outlets?

The report suggests that mainstream media outlets need to continuously reinvent themselves to adapt to changing social media habits and preferences. This includes using innovative technologies, unique storytelling, and embracing diversity to stay relevant.

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