When Chinese company ByteDance launched the social media app TikTok in 2018, no one in journalism took it very seriously, Andrew Kersley told the Press Gazette.
It was promoted as a “joyful” place full of short, chatty, playful videos introducing everything from recipes to songs to new fashion crazes. But now, especially after the war in Ukraine, it has become the main platform for news.
TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have become the most popular source of news among British youth aged 12 to 15, overtaking BBC One and Two, according to a new study by Ofcom.
The reach of these social networks is huge, David Sillito told BBC News. Instagram has 34.6 million users in the UK. With about 17 million members, TikTok is now the fastest growing news source in the country. Three out of ten teenagers use it to get news.
“Less arguments than Twitter”
What explains the popularity of TikTok, Helen Lewis asked in The Sunday Times. It has “fewer arguments than Twitter, fewer annoying ads than Instagram, less unnecessary interpersonal drama than Facebook.” His news clips, often peppered with foul language, are fast-paced and concise; and the way serious headlines about climate change or Ukraine are interspersed with cat videos and other frivolous material only adds to the appeal.
Needless to say, this is changing the way news is presented, although most traditional news organizations have now realized that they need a presence on the platform. One of TikTok’s most popular journalists, Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post, makes chatty videos while in bed.
“The Death of Traditional Journalism?”
According to Christopher StockelWalker in The Observer, much of the news on the site is provided by people who are not journalists, such as ordinary Ukrainians documenting the atrocities of the Russian invasion. The rise of TikTok has led to warnings about the “death of traditional journalism”.
But this does not mean that the advent of radio and television meant the death of newspapers. It simply means that the news has changed; The key to good journalism is the ability to respond quickly and give the audience what they want. So let’s not engage in “format snobbery”. After all, “we no longer present the news in tuxedos and bow ties.”