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Kenya leads the world in global TikTok usage, report

Kenya has been ranked among the leading countries in terms of TikTok usage according to the Reuters Institute Digital News report 2023 survey released recently.

Kenya dominates the platform, with a staggering 54% of users engaging in TikTok for various purposes, while 29% specifically rely on it for news consumption. 

Thailand comes in second, closely followed by South Africa, where 50% of users engage with TikTok for general content, while 22% use it as a source of news.

The report notes that the Chinese-owned social network reaches 44% of 18–24s across markets and 20% for news. It is growing fastest in parts of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. It further adds that audiences are paying more attention to celebrities, influencers, and social media personalities than to journalists on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The report also highlights how the nature of social media is changing, partly characterised by declining engagement with traditional networks such as Facebook and the rise of TikTok and a range of other video-led networks. 

‘’Our data show, more clearly than ever, how this shift is strongly influenced by habits of the youngest generations, who have grown up with social media and nowadays often pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news.’’ the report says.

When it comes to news consumption, the report notes that usage specifically across all ages, Facebook remains the most important network (aggregated across 12 countries) at 28%, but is now 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 latest figures from March 2023), but in the last year it has also been scaling back on direct payments to publishers and other schemes that supported journalism. 

‘’The growth of YouTube as a news source is often less noticed, but together with the rise of TikTok demonstrates the shift towards video-led networks.’’ 

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