It’s safe to say that Gen-Z are more likely to be on their phones than in front of a TV. As a result, the easiest and quickest way to get news is through social media platforms; enter TikTok – Gen-Z’s news outlet.

We’re all aware that TikTok is one of the fastest growing platforms, with almost nine million users in the UK each month, but when did this dancing app turn into Gen-Z’s news outlet?


Why TikTok?

First, let’s discuss why TikTok has become the chosen platform rather than any of the others available.

TikTok is winning the social media game because it’s the only pure social media platform as it stands at the moment. It falls into a category known as hybrid, but the developers don’t stray away from creating only video content.

The three types of platforms are:

  • Social, such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Hybrid, which is a combination of messaging with entertainment, such as TikTok
  • Non-social, such as Netflix or Spotify


TikTok is just for video creation

As you may know, the public has called on Instagram to be just an image-focused social media network and to return to its roots. Something which the CEO of Instagram does not agree with. 

The CEO of Instagram has rejected the public appeal by saying he wants to move forward with a mix of videos, photos, and messages, something users of the platform do not want. The outcry for Instagram to return to its original format shows that users want each platform to have one main focus and to remain as it was created. This gives the users separation for each platform, meaning they can create different content ideas without overlapping. 

That said, we know why the CEO is trying to move Instagram to Reels. Video content is growing; in 2022 alone, the report said that 82% of global internet traffic would come from purely video, and he wants to ensure that the image-based platform doesn’t get left behind. 

At the moment, TikTok is a platform for uploading and viewing video content and is more popular than Reels. Users know the experience they are getting, which is why they keep returning to this app. It moves fast with trends, and creators can become a success in a matter of clips going viral.

So do we trust TikTok to provide us with news updates?


Why is TikTok Gen-Z’s news outlet?

If a news broadcast channel such as the BBC puts snippets of news clips on TikTok, this will get shares, and people are more likely to pay attention. The full clips are usually no more than 60 seconds long to account for the attention span of users.

TikTok, unlike Instagram, has one focus: video, so users know if they want to find information, this is the place to come.

TikTok is more used than Instagram Reels due to less disturbance from images, e-commerce adverts and suggested pages.

Now that TikTok has allowed for longer videos, this has helped news platforms grow and gain a large following. Videos that get straight to the point are watched, rather than long, repetitive news programs. 

Ofcom has recently announced that TikTok’s reach for news has increased from 1% in 2020 to 7% in 2022. The report has noted that half of TikTok’s user base, aged 16-24, use the app for news.

The report also states that younger age groups are much more likely to use the internet and social media for news. In contrast, older counterparts favour print, radio and TV.

Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, said, “Teenagers today are increasingly unlikely to pick up a newspaper or tune into TV News. Instead, preferring to keep up-to-date by scrolling through their social feeds.” 


Is Gen-Z’s news outlet a bad or unreliable source?

Although it’s great that Gen-Z is still taking an interest in the news, there is a downside to them getting this information from TikTok alone. 

The main downside is that users often share what they see without backing it up. Misinformation is spread when clips are edited and don’t show the full news story.

The spread of fake news is another issue TikTok is seeing. Traditional news outlets must vet the information before presenting it on TV or printing it on paper. However, this is not the case with social media platforms. Each creator can start recording a video and put it online, ready for the world to click that share button.

Although TikTok is trying to keep on top of this under TikTok’s community guidelines, the app stresses that it “will remove misinformation that causes significant harm to individuals, our community, or the larger public regardless of intent”.


What does the future entail?

Although TikTok is not a replacement for traditional media, as a new generation grows, this alternative method will too.

TikTok will continue to see growth as an outlet for news stories and newscasts among Gen-Z. The platform has already been monetized, making it even more appealing for content creators.

If you need help with your social media platforms, contact our directorTalisa Vallance, for a no-obligation consultation.