NEWS24 July 2023

Young adults turning to social media for news, finds Ofcom

Media News UK Youth

UK – Online news sources on social media sites and apps are the dominant means by which younger people in the UK access news, with relationships with traditional news brands weakening, according to Ofcom research.

teenage boy using mobile phone

Ofcom’s News consumption in the UK 2022/23 report found that people aged 16 to 24 were far more likely to consumer news online than the general population ( 83% versus 68%).

Social media accessed through mobile phones accounted for 63% of all news consumption by 16 to 24-year-olds, Ofcom said, compared with 39% across the UK adult population.

People in this age group are also much less likely than the average adult to access news content from traditional media sources, like television ( 47% vs 70%), radio ( 25% vs 40%) and print newspapers ( 16% vs 26%).

The research added that 16 to 24-year-olds were much less likely than other adults to go straight to traditional news websites ( 9% vs 26%) and more commonly go via social media ( 37% vs 24%).

Instagram ( 44%) is the most-used single news source, followed by Facebook at 33%, Twitter with 31% and TikTok at 29%, with the only traditional media source in the top five for this age group being BBC One ( 33%) in joint second.

Among 12 to 15-year-olds, TikTok is the most used single source of news across all platforms ( 28%), followed by YouTube ( 25%) and Instagram ( 25%).

However, taking into account all news content across its platforms, the BBC still has the highest reach of any news organisation among the youngest age group ( 39%).

The news topics of most interest to younger teenagers generally are ‘sports or sports personalities’ ( 23%), ‘music news or singers’ ( 15%), ‘celebrities or famous people’ ( 11%), ‘serious things going on in the UK’ ( 8%) and news about ‘animals or the environment’ ( 9%).