Adapting to Affordances and Audiences? A Cross-Platform, Multi-Modal Analysis of the Platformization of News on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter


To capture audiences’ attention on social media, news outlets may disseminate journalistic content in line with platform instead of mass media logics, indicating a platformization of news. Taking a cross-platform, multi-modal approach, we analyze how German outlets select and adapt existing stories for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. We combine a computational and a manual content analysis of articles and social media posts (N = 4,412), including related images/videos (N = 6,850). Overall, evidence for outlets following platform logics on social media is limited: News outlets select and adapt news on a technical level, for instance by distributing more content on news-centered platforms like Twitter or by fostering on-platform engagement by excluding external links on Instagram. However, they do not systematically select or adapt news on a more communicative level, for instance by preferring specific topics for social media or by using more engaging language on platforms.

Digital Journalism