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TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are teens’ top news sources, Ofcom says

A new Ofcom study has revealed where teenagers are getting their news and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s bad news for the likes of BBC, ITV and Sky.

The study showed Instagram (29%), TikTok (28%) and YouTube (28%) topped the pile among teens. Unsurprising? Perhaps. Depressing? Definitely.

The research found that only a quarter of teens are accessing the information via BBC One and BBC 2 (24%), as well as ITV and its various affiliates (25%), and Sky News (19%).

Somewhat surprisingly, Twitter is down at 13% as a news consumption source for teenagers, below WhatsApp (17%), Snapchat (19%) and Facebook (22%).

It’s rough news for the BBC in particular, as the figure was 45% of teens were watching via the terrestrial channels as little as five years ago.

Indeed the popularity of TikTok as a news source now puts it on par with Sky News’ app and website with around 3.9 million adults in the UK using the service to get their news. Half of those users are aged between 16 and 24 too.

Perhaps more concerning is how those TikTok users are consuming news via the platform. 24% are getting it through recognised news organisations, while 44% receive it via ‘other people they follow’. Given the level of misinformation published via those apps, the veracity of that news has to be called into question.

“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,” said Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director for Strategy and Research

“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.”

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