Teenagers in the UK are getting their news from social media rather than traditional news channels to stay up to date, new research from Ofcom has found.
The insights were included in the regulator’s News Consumption in the UK 2021/22 report.
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, said: “Teenagers today are increasingly unlikely to pick up a newspaper or tune into TV News, instead preferring to keep up-to-date by scrolling through their social feeds.
“And while youngsters find news on social media to be less reliable, they rate these services more highly for serving up a range of opinions on the day’s topical stories.”
According to the figures, Instagram was the most popular with young people and was used by 29% of teenagers, ahead of TikTok and YouTube, both of which were used by 28%.
ITV news, including regional ITV news bulletins was fourth, while the BBC’s two main channels, one and two – historically the most popular news source among this age group – has been knocked down to fifth place, Ofcom said.
The number of teenagers using these channels for news has dropped from nearly half (45%) five years ago to around a quarter (24%) now.
However trust in social media news sources varies – half of YouTube and Twitter users think they provide trustworthy news stories.
Despite its popularity, fewer than a third of teenagers (30%) trust TikTok’s news content.
News viewing to BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC News channel, ITV and Sky News is now below pre-pandemic levels, which Ofcom said is part of a longer-term decline in traditional TV news viewing.
However, TV news remains the most trusted news source among UK adults, with social media considered the least reliable.