LONDON: Instagram is the most popular news source for UK teens, overtaking traditional news channels, research commissioned by Britain’s media regulator Ofcom revealed on Thursday.
The study of news consumption in the UK found that roughly a quarter of 12-15-year-olds watched BBC One and Two, compared with 45 percent five years ago.
Meanwhile, 29 percent of young teenagers surveyed this year cited Instagram as a source of news, followed by 28 percent opting for TikTok and another 28 percent citing YouTube.
“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.”
The number of teenagers using traditional news channels such as ITV and the BBC has dropped from 45 percent five years ago to 24 percent now.
Historically the most popular news source among this age group, BBC news channels were pushed down to fifth place, preceded by ITV.
BBC One remained the most popular news source among those over the age of 16, with 56 percent saying they tuned in, while just over a third read and watched news on Facebook.
Despite the popularity, however, trust in social media news sources varied. Half of YouTube and Twitter users think they provide trustworthy news stories, but only 30 percent of teenagers trust TikTok’s news content.
These results were mirrored in the Arab world, where 61 percent of people aged 18-24 use social media for news compared to TV channels (43 percent), other online sources (34 percent) and newspapers (9 percent), according to a 2021 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth survey.
Similarly, social media was less trusted by Arab youth compared to the other three sources. Only 26 percent say social media is a “very trustworthy” source of news compared to other online news portals (28 percent), newspapers (32 percent) and TV channels (46 percent).