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TikTok is the fastest-growing social platform, but YouTube remains the most dominant

The Pew Research Center’s survey polled 5,733 Americans in mid-2023.

YASUYOSHI CHIBA via Getty Images

The Pew Research Center has published an updated survey of US adult social media usage. Although YouTube (especially) and Facebook retain their dominant status from the last poll in 2021, TikTok is the fastest-growing platform, with more than a third of adults now saying they use the app.

The survey polled 5,733 US adults between May 19 and September 5, 2023. YouTube was far and away the most used platform, with 83 percent of respondents reporting using it at some point. Meanwhile, 68 percent of users reported using Facebook.

Those two are the only platforms with a majority of people using them through each age demographic. However, gaps based on age groups still exist — especially among YouTube’s users. For example, 93 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds report using Google’s video platform, while 60 percent of those 65 and older say the same. (Facebook only has a nine percent difference between the same two demographics.)

Instagram came in third place overall, as 47 percent of respondents said they use it. Pinterest (35 percent), TikTok (33 percent), LinkedIn (30 percent), WhatsApp (29 percent) and Snapchat (27 percent) all fall into the next tier down. TikTok’s growth stands out the most: The ByteDance-owned platform shot up 12 points from 21 percent from two years before. That’s by far the biggest leap of any platform on the list.

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 21: Chairman of Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, Linda Yaccarino and Creator and Executive Producer, 'Saturday Night Live' Lorne Michaels speak on stage during the NBC session at the Cannes Lions 2019 : Day Five on June 21, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)
Twitter changed its name to X and brought in CEO Linda Yaccarino while the surveys were in the field. (Richard Bord via Getty Images)

The next tier down includes Reddit and X, each sitting at 22 percent. Complicating matters, Elon Musk’s company changed its name from Twitter to X (and brought in a new CEO) while the surveys were in the field. The company’s reported users dropped slightly in two years, from 23 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, Reddit rose four points from 18 percent two years before — despite the platform’s API controversy happening while the surveys were out.

Other platforms with significant age-group discrepancies include Instagram (78 percent of 29-and-under survey participants use it, compared to 15 percent of 65 and older) and Snapchat (65 percent use it for those under 30, four percent for 65 and up). The 40- to 49-year-old demographic, which includes younger Gen-Xers and all but the youngest Millennials, has especially high rates for LinkedIn (40 percent), WhatsApp (38 percent) and Facebook (75 percent).

In other demographic-based notables, Pew reports TikTok is especially popular among Hispanic users, with 49 percent reporting use (and women reported using it at a 15 percent higher rate than men). X is more popular with adults with annual household incomes of at least $100,000 — a nine-point swing compared to the $70,000 to $99,999 tier. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, given its career-oriented focus, LinkedIn has a higher rate of respondents with at least a bachelor’s degree (25 points higher than those with “some college education” and 43 percent higher than those with a high school diploma or less).