TikTok is a more popular news source in the US than X is

  • Data from Pew Research ranks Facebook as the most popular source for news by US citizens.
  • Unfortunately for Elon Musk, TikTok ranks higher as a popular source for news in the US.
  • The data also shows that X is losing popularity with younger users as a source of news.

What a year it has been for Twitter, or X, as Elon Musk insists many call it. The billionaire took over the reins more than a year ago and despite several hiccups and questionable changes, users still appear to be coming to the website.

While Musk has visions of turning X into an “everything app” it appears as if the website is losing favour as a news source, at least in the US.

A report published by Pew Research this week shows that 30 percent of Americans get their news from Facebook. X, formerly Twitter, is far lower down the list with only 12 percent of Americans saying they get news from the platform.

The top five platforms in order are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and X.

In even worse news for X, the number of US adults using TikTok to get news is growing.

While the number of US adults getting their news from the platform is rather low at 14 percent, it’s a massive leap from the 3 percent using it for news in 2020.

“Currently, 43% of TikTok users say they regularly get news on the site, up from 33% who said the same in 2022. TikTok users are now just as likely to get news from TikTok as Facebook users are to get news from Facebook. Still, TikTok users are less likely than users of X, formerly Twitter, to get news on the site,” Pew Research writes.

In fact, we would go so far as to say that X is becoming the Facebook of this generation, that is to say, it’s the uncool platform that older users flock to. Pew Research found that 44 percent of users aged 18 – 29 favoured TikTok compared to just 36 percent of the same age group favouring X. In the 30 – 49 age group 38 percent of Americans get news from X and TikTok but as folks get older, they lean on X for news.

“The majority of regular news consumers on many sites are Democrats or lean Democratic. No social media site included here has regular news consumers who are more likely to be Republicans or lean Republican, though there is no significant partisan difference among news consumers on Facebook, X or Nextdoor,” writes Pew Research.

The research, unfortunately, doesn’t ask respondents to rank how trustworthy they find the news they get from social media platforms which would be an interesting piece of information.

One of Musk’s best accomplishments at Twitter, now X, was the fast-tracking of Birdwatch to a formal release. Now known as Community Notes, this feature puts fact checking into the hands of a group of users rather than an anonymous group of employees.

While this helps police misinformation on the platform, it does tend to work slowly and some users could see information but not the Community Note that corrects it.

Independent fact-checking aside, Musk and Linda Yaccarino are going to have to find a way to lure folks back to X for news or risk losing out to ByteDance’s TikTok which already has a billion users, a figure Musk hoped to already be within sniffing distance of by now.

It may have risen in popularity on the back of viral dances and questionable challenges but TikTok is a force to be reckoned with. If that wasn’t the case, Meta and YouTube wouldn’t be chasing to emulate its model.


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