According to recent study from Ofcom, TikTok is currently the most popular news source for teenagers in the UK across all platforms.
According to the regulator’s News Consumption In The UK 2022/23 report, 12 to 15-year-olds prefer TikTok over any other news source.
According to the statistics, 28% of youngsters use TikTok, which is the most widely used app among young people. YouTube and Instagram, both at 25%, are next.
The BBC still has the biggest reach of any news organisation within this age group when all of its news material across its platforms is considered, with 39% of teens using it.
Following a security review, the UK Government prohibited ministers from using TikTok, a Chinese-owned video-sharing app, on their official cell phones.
In making the decision to forbid the app throughout the Palace of Westminster, the House of Commons and the Lords both cited security considerations.
ByteDance, a Chinese internet business that owns TikTok, claims that it does not share data with China.
Beijing’s intelligence regulations, however, mandate that businesses assist the Communist Party as needed.
There is a significant change in how consumers consume news, according to Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and more publications are joining TikTok.
He said: “TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, the people younger people are listening to tend to be influencers, personalities, they film for a range of reasons – in some instances you have specific news creators, in other cases it’s just personalities, comedians, talking about issues including free school meals.
“In terms of the implications for the industry, one of the things we’ve really seen in the last 12 months is we have publishers who are very reluctant to go into TikTok, but over the last 12 months we’ve seen most major publishers refocus their strategy, partly as otherwise there’s more risk of young people seeing unreliable news.
“That’s more challenging as there’s no business model for TikTok, so it’s very hard.
“It’s just starting to build relationships with young people.
“There’s been surveys that show TikTok is amongst the least trusted platforms, partly as it’s one of the newest.”
He added: “During the war in Ukraine we saw young people going to traditional news brands – but not for very long, it depends what the subject is to some extent.
“Covid was a big change because people were at home and people were talking about Covid on TikTok and people had a bit of time.
“That’s a case of very serious news being carried on TikTok.
“Passions and celebrity news, that’s a big part of what’s going on with the younger people, but there’s also serious news, that’s the wider big shift.”
Teenagers trusted traditional media sources more than their online counterparts, with BBC One/Two receiving 82% of their trust compared to TikTok’s 32%, Instagram’s 38%, Facebook’s 41%, and Snapchat’s 31%. According to Ofcom, Twitter was the exception, receiving a 50% trust rating.
In general, “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%), are the news themes that younger adolescents find most interesting.
The ordinary adult is far more likely to obtain news from traditional media sources like TV (47% vs. 70%), radio (25% vs. 40%), and print newspapers (16% vs. 26%) than those between the ages of 16 and 24.
The top five most popular news sources among 16 to 24 year olds are dominated by social media sites. The most popular news source is Instagram, which receives 44% of all news usage, followed by Facebook (33%), Twitter (31%), and TikTok (29%). BBC One is the only conventional media outlet to appear in the top five, coming in at joint second with 33%.
However, according to data from Ofcom, broadcast television news continues to be utilised by adults in the UK at a rate of 70%, increasing to 75% when broadcast video on-demand news programming is taken into account.
ITV is the second most popular news source overall, coming in at 34%, behind BBC One at 49%, despite both networks experiencing gradual reductions over the past five years, going from 62% and 41% respectively.
Facebook, the third most popular news source among adults, is also beginning to experience a dip, falling from 33% to 30% during the same time frame.
One in ten adults said they use TikTok to stay up to date on the latest news, beating BBC Radio 1 and Channel 5 (both at 8%) for the first time as popular sources of news for adults.
For celebrity news, TikTok and Instagram are particularly well-liked among adults (55% and 53%, respectively). With 61% of adults choosing Twitter for breaking news and 45% choosing Facebook for political news, local news is most frequently found on Facebook (59%).
Users of the platforms give social media news a lower rating for trust, impartiality, and accuracy than they do for more established news sources, but they give it a moderately positive rating for “offers a range of opinions,” “helps me understand what’s going on in the world today,” and being “important to me personally.”
In comparison to all adults, one in ten (16%) 16 to 24 year olds say they don’t read any news.
With the overall reach of major news companies being supplemented by their digital platforms, print newspaper reach has been declining for a while. However, according to the most current data from Ofcom, print newspaper reach was stable between 2022 and 2023.
Just over 25% of respondents (26%) used print newspapers to access news; when including their online platforms, that number rose to 39%.
The most widely read print and digital news publications overall were The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Guardian/Observer.