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Digital News Report Australia 2023: Instagram and TikTok are popular news sources for young Australians

14 June 2023: Digital News Report (DNR): Australia 2023 released today by the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC) revealed a significant drop in news consumption among Gen Z at 36 per cent, down 10 percentage points when compared with 2022.

Instagram and TikTok have become increasingly popular as news sources for Gen Z. One in four Gen Z watch news-related videos on TikTok, which equates to one in ten Australians nationally. Overall, the use of social media for news has increased with YouTube and WhatsApp seeing the largest growth at 23 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Having said that, print as a main source of news has increased by five percentage points to eight per cent.

“Overall, for respondents using social media for news, the report found that people are paying attention to different news sources depending on the platform they’re on. For instance, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube people are consuming news delivered by mainstream media, whereas on TikTok news from ordinary people and influencers is the preference,” said DNR lead author Professor Sora Park from the University of Canberra’s N&MRC.

A variance was also noted in the topics accessed on social media platforms. Twitter users focused more on national news, while TikTok, Facebook and Instagram were the channels of choice for entertainment, celebrity and other lighter topics.

News avoidance in Australia is higher than the global average at 69 per cent. For young people, the most common ways of avoiding news were ‘checking the news less often’ (32 per cent), ‘ignoring, scrolling past’ (31 per cent), and ‘avoiding particular news sources’ (30 per cent).

Other key findings include:

  • One in five Australians pay for online news taking the lead, globally;
  • 80 per cent of Australians say they have been affected somewhat or a great deal by changes to cost-of-living;
  • Australians are concerned about news algorithms, 61 per cent of Australians are concerned they might miss out on important information and 57 per cent worry they miss out on divergent views;
  • Australians prefer positive news stories, stories offering solutions, watchdog news reports and explainers;
  • The number of people using search engines to search for news stories increased by eight percentage points at 30 per cent;
  • Australians are careful when talking about politics – more than one-third (37 per cent) say they don’t discuss politics online or on social media, compared to 22 per cent who say they don’t talk about politics in person or on the phone;
  • The popularity of podcasts is growing with 38 per cent of respondents saying they have listened to a podcast in the last month; and
  • For the first time, smart TVs are a more popular device for news (29 per cent), than tablets (23 per cent).

The DNR report is available here.