Kenyans top global use of short-form videos for news

Saturday June 22 2024

A man browses social media platforms on his mobile phone with a member of his outfit of social media influencers at an office in Thika town, Central Kenya on April 26, 2022. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


The proportion of Kenyans consuming short-form online news videos per week stands at 94 percent, a new survey shows, beating all countries globally, including the US at 60 percent.

A short-form video is audiovisual content typically 5-90 seconds in duration. This is the one favoured by Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as it is ideal for users' shorter attention spans.

The Reuters Institute 2024 Digital News Report, which sampled more than 2,000 Kenyans, highlights the changing consumer preference from text to short-form videos when it comes to online news.

Nigeria followed with 92 percent of its population consuming short-form video news content, South Africa has 82 percent, while France reported 45 percent, and the United Kingdom, 39 percent.

Read: Ban TikTok in Kenya? Not too fast...

TikTok is one of the prominent social media platforms from which Kenyans are getting news, despite its future being uncertain due to calls by the government to ban it.


"The proportion that used TikTok for news in Kenya rose seven points to 36 percent in 2024,” the survey said. "TikTok remains most popular with younger groups and, although its use for any purpose is similar to last year, the proportion using it for news has grown to 13 percent (2023 — 11 percent) across all markets and 23 percent for 18-24-year-olds."

The government advised lawmakers against a ban proposed over concerns about explicit content shared on the platform and instead recommended stricter oversight by regulators.

Read: Kenya government urges regulations on TikTok, not banning

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been facing regulatory scrutiny in several countries, particularly in the West.
"Kenyans’ heavy use of different social and video platforms is raising concerns at the highest levels, with a particular focus on TikTok," said Reuters Institute in the report.

The app has been labelled “a serious threat to the cultural and religious values of Kenya” in a petition to parliament, after being implicated in the sharing of adult content, misinformation, and hate speech."

Online video news content is gaining traction despite concerns over growing misinformation and credibility.

The survey revealed that some 35 percent of Kenyans find it difficult to tell apart trustworthy and untrustworthy news and information on TikTok and 24 percent on WhatsApp.

Conversely, 47 percent find it easy to tell apart misinformation against 60 percent on WhatsApp.