February 28, 2024

TikTok feels synonymous with Gen Z. The platform relies on its young users, who make up the majority of its content creators. They use the video sharing app to become influencers, to get the news, to share news about their own lives, and bond with people near and far.

But in the US, TikTok still isn’t as widely used among older members of Gen Z (the generation includes people ages 12 to 27) as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, data released this week from the Pew Research Center shows. To be sure, Pew included Americans ages 28 and 29 in the study, so not all of this group counts as Gen Z — some are the youngest of millennials.

More Americans ages 18 to 29 said they’d used YouTube (93%), Instagram (78%), and Facebook (67%) than TikTok (62%) in 2023. Unsurprisingly, older people used the app even less — only 39% of 30 to 49 year olds and 24% of 50 to 64 years olds said they used the site last year.

TikTok is also less popular than other social media platforms among global users of all ages by site traffic, according to a recent report from data analytics site Lifesight.io. In a January report, TikTok ranked sixth, following even the troubled X (formerly Twitter). To be sure, web traffic doesn’t paint a complete picture without app data — and it does mark TikTok’s swift growth. TikTok saw about 60 times more site visitors in 2023 than 2019, a sign that it could eventually surpass older platforms like Facebook on the internet.

Facebook isn’t the dinosaur people make it out to be

News about Facebook is rarely positive these days: teens and advertisers leaving the site, reports on the presence of human traffickers, conspiracy theorists using it to spread misinformation, clashes with US regulators and the EU. All of those signs have led to media reports of the company’s decline.

But Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The site hit a record 3 billion monthly active users across the globe last year, in part due to the popularity of Reels, and it received the second-most worldwide site visitors in 2023 behind YouTube. More American millennials use the site than younger ones, but it’s still widely used by other age groups. According to Pew, 69% of Americans ages 50 to 64 used Facebook last year, and 58% of those over 65.

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