Is TikTok the new Google? Some Gen Zs think it’s even better


TikTok’s appeal also lies in its fast-paced platform – perfect for the younger set. 

“A growing number of Gen Zs have shorter attention spans,” said Associate Professor Brian Lee, head of Singapore University of Social Sciences’ (SUSS) communication programme. “Many avoid going through lengthy and wordy write-ups. Short videos appeal to them instead.”

Likewise, Prof Loh told CNA that the visual nature of TikTok makes content “very easily consumable and digestible”. 

“Pictures are so much easier to comprehend. It takes less cognitive time and energy,” she said. 

Compared to apps like Facebook, which tend to be more text-heavy, and long-form platforms like YouTube, TikTok’s focus on short videos stands out.  

Ms Sim, the 21-year-old, also said that unlike YouTube and Google, the content on TikTok feels more up-to-date as “people are constantly posting”. 

“Google doesn’t give me exactly what I want,” she added.

While the shift is not inherently negative, it represents a change in how information is consumed and valued, said Mr Lok of Singapore Polytechnic.


This year’s Reuters digital news report also found that more people are turning to TikTok as a news source in 2023. 

“In almost every case, we found that younger users are less likely to go directly to a news site or app and more likely to use social media or other intermediaries,” according to the Reuters Institute.

Twelve per cent of Singaporeans get their news from TikTok, up five percentage points from last year, the biggest increase among the most-used platforms in the country, according to the study. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, the numbers spike to 22 per cent.

In the region, a quarter of Malaysians and 22 per cent of Indonesians use TikTok as a news source, up nine and six percentage points from a year ago.

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