Only 17% of Nigerian Tiktok users use the platform for news content

Nigeria African TikTok

Only 17% of Nigerian Tiktok users actively use the platform for consuming news content. This positions the country as one with the lowest number of users utilizing social media for news content in Africa.

Comparatively, South Africa boasts a higher percentage of TikTok users for news, with 22% using it for news consumption, while in Kenya, 29% of users turn to TikTok as a source of news content.

This is according to a recent report published in the 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News. 2000 respondents each from six continents, and 46 markets, indicated a shift in their news consumption habits.

The report states that the preference for initiating news journeys through a website or app has decreased by 10 percentage points since 2018, with only around a fifth of respondents (22%) currently favoring this method.

In Africa, the majority of Kenyans, specifically 63% of the population, place their trust in most news sources most of the time. Similarly, in Nigeria, a significant percentage of the population, precisely 57%, exhibits a similar level of trust in most news sources most of the time.

Photo Credit: 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News

South Africa, the third African country in the report, also shows a comparable level of trust, with 57% of its population relying on most news sources most of the time. When it comes to news consumption, 95% of Nigerians who get their news online like to watch news videos shared on social media platforms. 23% also said they like to watch news online via news platforms and apps.

However, despite journalism’s ethical standards vehemently discouraging the deliberate dissemination of false information by media organizations or online networks, an alarming number of users unquestioningly rely on news originating from social media channels.

Why do people use social media for news?

People are increasingly turning to social media for news content. This is because the platforms more or less curate news from different sources and delivers them to the users. These news are usually curated based off the users preferences. And they may be from either traditional news platforms or other user-generated content.

Thus, 30% of overall respondents consider having stories selected for them based on their previous consumption to be a good method of accessing news, marking a 6-percentage point decrease compared to the report’s previous inquiry in 2016. An algorithm is one thing social media feeds are known for.

These users on average still slightly favor news chosen through algorithmic selection over news curated by editors or journalists, with a preferred rate of 27%. This suggests that concerns about algorithms are part of a broader apprehension about news and its selection process.

Also, when it comes to news, these respondents demonstrate a heightened level of interest in celebrities, influencers, and social media personalities, rather than journalists. This inclination is particularly noticeable on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Unlike traditional news outlets such as newspapers and news shows, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp have enabled individuals without professional journalistic backgrounds to create news content and cover events that may go unnoticed by news agencies.

This stark contrast becomes evident in the ongoing discussions taking place on Facebook and Twitter, where news media and journalists continue to play a central role in shaping the conversation. Also, age might have affected the transitioning of people’s choices from choosing traditional news content to social media news content.


Younger age groups prefer accessing news through social media or other intermediaries rather than directly visiting news sites or apps. Around 79% of 18-24-year-olds consume news videos via social media platforms. The data report indicates a weaker connection between younger audiences and news brands’ websites or apps.

Photo Credit: 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News

TikTok is gaining influence as a news distribution platform, especially among younger users. It remains the fastest-growing social network, with 44% of users actively engaged, particularly among individuals aged 18 to 24.

The report also shows that audiences avoid news stories that they find depressing or anxiety-inducing, prioritizing their mental well-being. In terms of news-related content, Facebook’s popularity seems to be declining, possibly due to the rise of TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, where users prefer following celebrities and influencers for news-related content.

However, Facebook and Twitter still dominate user attention and conversations on established social networks.

Read Also: From Nigeria to the world: TikTok celebrates top content creators in Nigeria

Where is the Nigerian social media audience in all of this?

Kenya becomes the global leading country in terms of TikTok usage

Over the past decade, social media usage in Nigeria has undergone remarkable growth, fueled by various factors such as the need for basic interaction, staying connected with close relations, accessing information and news, and keeping up with trends.

According to a 2022 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Nigerians spend the longest amount of time on social media daily, compared to any other country. The most popular social media platforms among Nigerians include Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Notably, WhatsApp has emerged as the most-used social media platform in the country, as reported by Technext earlier this year. Data from the third quarter of 2021, provided by Statista, also revealed that nearly 92 percent of Nigeria’s internet users utilized the instant messaging app, surpassing Facebook and Instagram in popularity.

Moreover, a report from Datareportal, based on updates to Google’s advertising resources, indicated that YouTube boasted the highest number of users among social media platforms in Nigeria. In terms of news content, a recent report by the Reuters Institute Digital News stated that Facebook ranked at the top with 66% preference among Nigerians, followed by WhatsApp.

Overall, social media usage in Nigeria has experienced significant growth over the past decade, with WhatsApp emerging as the most-used platform, Facebook being the preferred platform for accessing news, and YouTube having the largest user base among social media platforms in the country.

But, when it comes to TikTok, Nigeria seems to be lagging behind globally and even on the continent. Yet, TikTok is still making it possible for Nigeria to expand its connections to the global content creation community through events and community gatherings and

Read Also: Why YouTube is the social media app with most users in Nigeria

TikTik might take over news content soon

Kenya becomes the global leading country in terms of TikTok usage

Despite TikTok being one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, it continues to introduce new features that attract an increasing number of users.

However, the recent Bill C-18 online news act, primarily circulating in Canada, could potentially impact the dominance of Facebook as the leading social media platform for news content.

As a result, Facebook may lose its position as the number one platform for news consumption. In recent times, there has been a noticeable influx of news content appearing on the TikTok timeline, indicating the platform’s growing presence in the news space. They rely on the app to get confirmations on breaking news as well as other angles and insights that can contribute or is helpful in further understanding the breaking trend.

Numerous individuals also rely on the social media application, TikTok, to seek advice from industry experts who have gained influence as TikTok influencers. This trend highlights the growing popularity and influence of these experts within the TikTok community. Users of the platform turn to these industry experts for guidance, insights, and recommendations related to various fields and industries.

Read Also: Meta to stop sharing news content on Facebook and Instagram for Canadian users

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!