In brief: Social media use is rampant in the US, but it is a service out of China that is growing faster than any other among adults in America. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2023, YouTube is still by far the largest and most widely used online platform among US adults. Roughly eight in 10 adults (83 percent) surveyed said they’ve used the Google-owned video sharing site at some point – far more than the 68 percent of adults that reported using Facebook.
Meta-owned Instagram is the third most popular social platform, used by nearly half (47 percent) of American adults. Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn are all used by roughly a third or less of the adult population, but TikTok is a unique case.
TikTok, from China’s ByteDance, saw its usage grow by 12 percentage points since 2021. Most other platforms Pew asked about, including YouTube and Facebook, saw more modest or no growth during the same period. Others, like X, saw usage decline slightly over the past few years.
TikTok isn’t just popular with adults; in fact, it is likely more popular among youth.
Back in September, a study from Common Sense Media and the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that the average teen used their smartphone for more than fours hours daily, and most of that time was spent in one app: TikTok. YouTube ranked second most popular among teens, accounting for nearly 20 percent of daily use.
Pew data showed that TikTok was most popular among Hispanic adults, and that women use the platform at higher rates than men (40 percent versus 25 percent).
The survey also found that different age groups had different social media preferences. Data showed that 62 percent of those between 18 to 29 use TikTok compared to only 10 percent of those 65 and older. In fact, Facebook and YouTube were the only two platforms that majorities of all age groups use.
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