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technologyJuly 26, 2022

TikTok growing as news, information source in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) announced that TikTok was the most used streaming app in Kuwait in the second quarter of 2022, followed by YouTube and Netflix respectively. Kuwait Times spoke to several people who said that TikTok is growing as a source of news and information in Kuwait, adding that it has broken the stereotype of being a typical social media platform that was known at one point as an app for “dancing and entertainment” only.

Ghazi Marafe, 29, told Kuwait Times that with the rise in serious topics discussed on TikTok, it is becoming an app for adults more than teenagers. “Many news outlets and public figures have accounts on TikTok, and they gained many followers who show interest in keeping up-to-date with what is happening in the world,” he said. He noted that he believes TikTok is faster in delivering news and celebrity updates compared to any other platform, including fast videos that posted in case of any event or disaster.

Alia Ezz, 32, agrees with Ghazi, saying that the scene on TikTok has been evolving remarkably. “I have signed up two years ago. At first it was just for entertainment, but nowadays you can find great content that could help in developing the current situation in Kuwait politically and socially,” she added.

According to Britain’s communications authority (Ofcom) report, TikTok is the fastest growing news source for adults. The app is used by seven percent of adults for news with nearly half turning to TikTokers rather than conventional outlets for updates. The growth is primarily driven by young users, with half of its news followers aged 16 to 24. The report stated that it found for the first time that TikTok, Instagram and YouTube were among the most popular news sources for the 12-15-year-old group. Meanwhile, Hamed Al-Rasheedi, 24, said that while people on TikTok can post several videos on news and related topics, he still doesn’t believe that people take the app seriously. “It is still an unreliable source,” he argued, adding that the app can only transfer the real events that may be covered by media.

Parental control

Iman Basioni, an academic, told Kuwait Times that TikTok is an app that parents must keep up with in order to control what their children consume from it. “The apps’ benefits are same as its bad impact; we cannot rely on the useful content to be in our children’s hands,” she said

A report issued late last year concluded that TikTok had managed to displace the search engine giant Google as the most visited site on the Internet. What distinguishes TikTok is its short videos, which are now up to three minutes long. The app is also distinguished with its easy-to-scroll user interface, which is another factor that makes the app very popular among young people.

TikTok was launched in 2016, and the Chinese app was one of the top social media platforms in June 2022 with 6.8 billion visits in June 2022, according to Similarweb data of monthly visits. According to a statistic in January 2022, TikTok has more than 1.1 billion monthly active users, and it is expected to reach 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022 according to the ‘Business of Apps’ website.

TikTok, which launched six years after Snapchat, has twice the number of the latter’s monthly active users. It is 11 years newer than Twitter, yet it is miles ahead in terms of the number of active users, and it is close to overcoming Instagram to become the third top social networking service in terms of the number of monthly active users. Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data, revealed that TikTok users spent more than 960 minutes per month on the application in 2021, at a rate of 32 minutes per day.