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Chart Pack: Social Media Trust and Usage

September 2023

Report summary

Between recent debates over regulating TikTok, Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter/X and Meta’s launch of Threads, it's been a turbulent period in the social media industry. Morning Consult’s ongoing coverage of this space helps shed light on how consumers are adapting to these changes, altering their use and perspectives of key platforms. 

This is the first of two Chart Packs from Morning Consult exploring trends in social media, with this one examining consumer trust and usage trends through more than a dozen charts. The next will dive into public opinion on social media regulation.

Chart Pack highlights: 

  • Trust has dipped among the two social media platforms with the least certain futures. Net trust in TikTok and X fell 6 and 5 percentage points, respectively, from the first quarter of 2021 to the same point in 2023. This comes as state and federal governments grapple with how to handle Chinese-owned TikTok and as X continues to change under Elon Musk’s ownership. 
  • Even though more platforms have launched premium offerings, most Americans aren’t interested. More than 3 in 4 U.S. adults said they wouldn’t pay to use a social media platform.
  • Gen Z stands out for its preference for getting sports updates from TikTok. While the youngest generation of adults ultimately prefers YouTube for sports news and highlights, the share who said TikTok is their favorite platform for sports was 11 percentage points higher than the shares among millennials and the general population.
  • Users of Threads are more likely to be Gen Z or millennials, compared with X users. X users, on the other hand, are much more likely to describe themselves as conservative.

About the author

A headshot photograph of Justine Coleman
Justine Coleman
Digital Producer

Justine Coleman is a digital producer at Morning Consult.