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TikTok Is Becoming a Major News Source For Its Users

The growth is happening among users of younger generations and across all political parties
Person reading news on their phone
Credit: Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Khanh Pham
By Amy He
February 05, 2024 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • Nearly half (47%) of TikTok’s users said they get news from the app, a 17 percentage point increase from July 2022.

  • There was also double-digit growth in use among Gen Z and millennial users, as well as those who identify as Democrats and Republicans, a key consideration for publishers and politicians as the 2024 presidential race heats up.

  • News consumption growth is happening alongside growing trust in TikTok among users, a good sign for the platform amid federal scrutiny.

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At a time when many people say they are consuming less or no news at all, new Morning Consult research shows that TikTok users are doing the opposite on the short-form video app. 

TikTok is now increasingly used for news among its users, despite having been synonymous with entertainment content since its inception. Nearly half (47%) of TikTok users said they turn to the app for news in December 2023, a 17 percentage point increase from July 2022. This increase has major implications for publishers and politicos in the thick of a presidential election, and for how headlines travel more broadly among younger audiences who spend a bulk of their time on the platform.

More younger generation users are getting their news from TikTok

The growth in use of TikTok for news is substantial across key groups, like Gen Z adults, millennials, and those major political parties. These shifts are especially notable given that many of these cohorts already turned to the platform for news at higher rates than the average TikTok user almost two years ago.

Use of TikTok For News Has Seen Double-Digit Growth

Share of TikTok users who say they get news from the platform
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Surveys conducted monthly from July 2022 to December 2023 among a representative sample of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults, including at least 936 TikTok users, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively.

With the media industry having experienced a rapid succession of setbacks in just the first month of 2024 alone, including mass layoffs and closures, publishers are more pressed than ever to find new, younger audiences for their offerings. Our research already shows that social media is by far Gen Z’s go-to platform for news, and with the generation spending much of their time on TikTok, it’s crucial the short-form app be part of publishers’ distribution strategies. 

News consumption on TikTok is nearly as common as on Facebook, X

Among users of their respective platforms, TikTok users went from being the fifth most likely to say they get news from the platform to being the third over the course of just 18 months.

Where Social Users Get Their News

Share of each platform’s users who say they get news from that platform
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Surveys conducted monthly from July 2022 to December 2023 among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, including at least 800 Snapchat users, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively.

This changing use of TikTok is similar to the growth trajectory we’ve seen for other social media platforms as they reach a certain size. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all began as places meant for connection and entertainment, but as they took a more permanent spot in people’s lives, news and ‘the real world’ naturally seeped in. That part of the user experience grew so much that platforms had to build entire functions devoted to organizing, distributing and taming the proliferation of news and related commentary — which is what TikTok is just starting to experience for itself.

User trust in TikTok has grown over the last year 

Increased reliance on TikTok for news is happening in tandem with an increase in trust for the app: Net trust in TikTok grew by 9 points from January 2023 to December 2023 among users, even though it has mostly stayed flat for incumbents with more established trust. (Net trust is the share of those who say they trust a brand to do what is right minus the share who say they don't.)

Trust in TikTok Is Now On Par Other Social Media Incumbents

Net trust* in social media platforms among users
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*Net trust is the share of those who say they trust a brand to do what is right minus the share who say they don't.
Morning Consult Brand Intelligence

Trust is hard to earn, but crucial in helping brands weather scandals. TikTok has been heavily investing on this front, with CEO Shou Chew saying just last week that the company will spend $2 billion on trust and safety, doing so with its content moderation force of 40,000, which is similar in size with Meta’s and much larger than X and Snapchat's. 

That said, as news content becomes more entrenched on the video platform, a key competitor offers a lesson hard-earned: Only after slowly getting out of news did people say they like Facebook more, and that’s worth noting as TikTok wades deeper into the news waters.

A headshot photograph of Amy He
Amy He
Deputy Head of Industry Analysis

Amy He is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends across retail, media, technology, sports and brand reputation. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Amy served as the executive editor of newsletters at Insider Intelligence (formerly known as eMarketer), and was a China reporter for many years. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and East Asian studies. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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