Kenyans prefer WhatsApp as TikTok users grow

WhatsApp is the most preferred digital medium by Kenyans.

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WhatsApp is the most preferred digital medium by Kenyans, closely followed by Facebook and YouTube, a new report has revealed.

The report by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) on the state of media in the country over the past year established that Tiktok registered a double increase in the number of users compared to a year ago when only seven per cent of Kenyans used the platform.

However, WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube maintained their positions as the leading digital and social media platforms throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023.

The report also found that seven in every 10 Kenyans think that the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) needs to be regulated. Interestingly, 40 per cent said they would allow their faces to be created by a software.

“Only 22 percent of the respondents reported that they are aware of the use of AI in media. The awareness is skewed towards the youth. Of those who are aware about the use of AI, 61 percent have concerns about it,” the MCK report says.

While many Kenyans often use smartphones to access social media, curiously, the report established that Kenyans do not like to consume religious content on social media.

No respondent said they would consume religious content, whether sermons or live services on social media, the report said.

On the level of trust in media, the report established that radio recorded the highest level of trust (33 percent), closely followed by television at 29 percent.

Freedom of the media and the rapid dissemination of news, the report noted, were identified as the top attributes celebrated about the media, each at 20 percent.

This, the report said, “marks a slight decrease from 31 percent and 26 percent respectively in 2022.”

The report also established that Daily Nation newspaper was the most-read newspaper in 2023, commanding a significant readership of 35 percent. Similarly, the report said, the Daily Nation was the favourite newspaper for many, with 48 percent of newspaper readers indicating it is their primary reading choice.

Most newspaper readers, accounting for 33 percent, bought the newspaper to consume news, observed the report.

At the same time, close to half of Kenyans (47 percent) prefer TV to any other medium of information, followed by radio and social media, the report showed. According to the study, TV and radio continued to be the main sources of information.

“About one in every three respondents (33 percent) indicated that they consumed content from TV within the last one week, another 32 percent mentioned radio, while social media garnered 18 percent of the mentions,” said the report.

Urban residents had a higher inclination towards TV consumption, with 83 percent of urban dwellers engaging with it.

“Similarly, peri-urban areas recorded a substantial TV consumption rate of 79 percent. Conversely, radio consumption is notably higher among rural dwellers, with 78 percent of them favouring this medium for their informational and entertainment needs,” read the report.

“Regionally, North Eastern and Western regions exhibited a higher preference for radio consumption over television,”

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