NEWS22 July 2022

UK teens favour social media for news content

Media News Trends UK Youth

UK – Teenagers in the UK are opting for social media instead of traditional channels to keep up to date with the news, according to research from Ofcom.

Young people using smartphones

In its News Consumption in the UK 2021/22 report, Ofcom said that Instagram was the most popular news source among teenagers, with 29% saying they used the service.

TikTok and YouTube were just behind Instagram with 28% of the news audience, according to the research.

BBC One and BBC Two, which were historically the top choices for UK teenagers to watch the news, dropped to fifth place overall at 24%.

Facebook also saw a decline in the proportion of teenagers using the platform for news content, falling from 34% in 2018 to 27% last year and 22% in the 2021/22 report.

The research is based on 500 interviews from 5th November to 6th December 2021 combined with 501 interviews from 6th March to 4th April 2022.

The research also found that BBC One was the most used news source among online adults, but that news viewing on BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC News Channel, ITV and Sky News were now below pre-pandemic levels.

TikTok, however, has seen the largest increase of any news source, adding 3.1 million UK adults between 2020 and 2022 to a total of 3.9 million and now on par with the proportion watching Sky News.

Television was still the most trusted news source among UK adults at 71%, compared with social media’s ( 35%), making it the news source perceived as the least reliable.

The combined use of print and online news was 38% in 2022, a significant decrease from 47% in 2020 and 51% in 2018.

Ofcom said that this trend was driven by the substantial decline of print newspaper reach in recent years, likely exacerbated by the pandemic.