1. Analysis
July 22, 2022updated 25 Jul 2022 12:59pm

Teenagers prefer Instagram to traditional news outlets

Instagram has become most popular source of news for UK teens

By Jake Mainwaring

Instagram is the most-used news outlet among UK teenagers, according to the latest Ofcom report. The research was based on data from 1,086 face-to-face interviews and 1,796 online interviews.

The researcher found that Instagram is used by 29% of respondents as news source. Instagram was followed closely by TikTok and Youtube that were both used by 28% of teens as a source for news. Traditional outlets such as the BBC and printed news trail behind, with being used by 24% and 5% respectively.

“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 to Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, in a statement.

The proportion of teenagers who use BBC news, formerly the most popular source among the demographic, has almost halved in the last five years. Nevertheless, teenagers still regard BBC news as the most important source. The social media sites Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube come in close second. BBC remains the most popular outlet among adults.

The success of Tiktok as a news source follows a 3.1 million growth in its userbase between 2020 and 2022, OfCom reported. This brings it on par with Sky News.

Tiktok users generally report getting their news from people they follow, rather than traditional news outlets. This could exacerbate concerns about fake news spreading on social media sites.

The most popular reason given by teenagers who do not engage with news at all is that the news is “too boring”. This has been the consistent most popular reason for five years.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.