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Social media becomes news content platform

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By Mercy Kelani

Across Africa, Nigeria has the lowest number of social media news consumers.

According to 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News, In Nigeria, only 17 percent of active TikTok users use the platform majorly for Consumption of news content. This shows the country’s position as one with the lowest number of users implementing social media for receiving news content in Africa. In contrast, South Africa was recorded to mark a higher percent of users for consuming news content at 22 percent, and in Kenya, the TikTok users for receiving news is 29 percent.

Since 2018, report stated that there has been a decrease by 10 percent in initiation of news through apps or website, leaving around 22 percent, approximately a fifth of respondents, currently participating in the method. In Africa, statistically, 63 percent of the population in Kenya placed their trust on the sources of news content many a times, while in Nigeria, 95 percent get shared news videos online on social media and 23 percent prefer to watch news through the use of news apps and platforms.

Curation of news preferences based on previous choices entices users.

Despite the discouragement of intentional circulation of false information on social media by journalism’s ethical standards, a vast number of social media users still strongly rely on the news received from social media platforms. It was discovered that users are increasing due to the selection available for users to choose news from different sources and according to their preferences, which are later curated based on these preferences. From the respondents’ comment, it was considered that news are selected based on their previous reads, giving a decrease by 6 percent in comparison to a 2016 inquiry.

Also, in aspects of news consumption, the respondents demonstrate keen interest in social media personalities, influencers, celebrities and social media personalities more than journalists. This was more apparent on social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. These platforms have helped users to create news content and cover events, without the aid of professional journalistic backgrounds like traditional news outlets such as newspapers and news shows. The contrast is visible in ongoing deliberations on Twitter and Facebook as journalists and news media continue to join in the conversation.

Online users avoid news stories that could affect their mental health.

Research also has it that age has to do with the choice of consuming social media news content or traditional news. Apparently, the young age group prefer getting social media news content or other intermediary platforms to visiting news apps or sites. Approximately, about 79 percent of 18-24-year-olds prefer receiving news from social media platforms. This report reviews the disinterest of the users in the emaciating connection between the younger audiences and news apps. Thus, TikTok grows faster among the younger users in terms of news distribution.

TikTok becomes the fastest-growing social platform with data of 44 percent active users, particularly between youths aged 18 to 24. The report revealed that audiences avoid news stories that could cause mental depression and anxiety, making their mental health a priority. In Nigeria, social media has grown unimaginably over the past decade, and is greatly promoted by different factors such as gaining access to information and news, staying connected with relations, keeping up with trends and updates, and for basic interactions.

Nigerians spend the longest amount of time on social media.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) stated that Nigerians dedicate the longest hours on social media, compared to other countries. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are known to be the most popular social media platforms in Nigeria and used by Nigerians. However, earlier this year, Technext accounted that WhatsApp is the most-used social media platform in Nigeria according to their statistics. In contrast, Datareportal, based on updates to Google, affirmed that YouTube ranked the social media platform with the highest number of users in Nigeria.

Related Link

Datareportal: Website

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