TikTok fastest growing news source in the UK

TikTok fastest growing news source in the UK

TikTok is the fastest growing news source in the UK between 2020 and 2022 – from 0.8 million adults in 2020 (1%), increasing to 3.9 million adults in 2022 (7%). This brings it onto a par with Sky News’ website and app. Less than a quarter of adults use newspapers for news. Teenagers are turning away from traditional news channels and are instead looking to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube for news, according to media authority Ofcom´s study of news consumption.

For the first time, Instagram is the most popular news source among teenagers used by nearly three in ten in 2022 (29%). TikTok and YouTube follow closely behind, used by 28% of youngsters to follow news.

”BBC One and BBC Two – historically the most popular news sources among teens – have been knocked off top spot down to fifth place. Around a quarter of teens (24%) use these channels for news in 2022, compared to nearly half (45%) just five years ago.

”BBC One remains the most used news source among all online adults, although it is one of several major TV news channels to reach fewer people in 2022. News viewing to BBC One, BBC Two, BBC News channel, ITV and Sky News is now below pre-pandemic levels, resuming a longer-term decline in traditional TV news viewing”, the Ofcom says.

TikTok’s growth is primarily driven by younger age groups, with half of its news users aged 16 to 24.

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”Users of TikTok for news claim to get more of their news on the platform from ‘other people they follow’ (44%) than ‘news organisations’ (24%).

The report shows TV news remains the most trusted news source among UK adults (71%), with news on social media considered the least reliable (35%).

CNN (83%) and Sky News (75%) are highly trusted by their viewers for news, while the public service broadcasters are also trusted by the majority of their viewers – BBC (73%), ITV (70%), Channel 4 (66%) and Channel 5 (59%). 67% of new TV-channel GB News’s viewers trust its news reporting.

Among teens, half of YouTube and Twitter users think they provide trustworthy news stories (51% and 52% respectively). Despite its popularity for news, fewer than a third of youngsters (30%) trust TikTok’s news content.

The combined use of print and online newspapers among adults is 38% in 2022, a significant decrease from 2020 (47%) and 2018 (51%).

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”This is being driven by the substantial decrease of print newspaper reach in recent years, with the trend seen pre-pandemic appearing to accelerate, likely exacerbated by the pandemic. Less than a quarter (24%) of UK adults use print newspapers for news in 2022, compared with more than a third (35%) in 2020, and two in five (40%) in 2018. Use of newspapers among teenagers fell from 19% to 13% in the last five years”, Ofcom says.

Findings in brief:

  • TikTok’s reach for news has increased from 2020 (1%) to 2022 (7%). Half of its user base (for news) are aged 16-24.
  • Reach of TV (74%), and internet (66%) platforms remains steady.
  • There is some evidence of longer term erosion of radio reach (40% in 2022 down from 44% in 2018).
  • Different age groups consume news very differently; younger age groups are much more likely to use the internet and social media for news, whereas their older counterparts favour print, radio and TV.
  • Reach of print/online newspapers has seen a decrease from 2020 (47%) to 2022 (38%). The decrease is driven by decreases in print (online newspaper reach remains steady) which have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Five of the top six TV channels (including BBC One which remains the top news source across platforms) saw decreased reach from 2021 among online adults.
  • Attitudes towards news generally remain consistent with 2020 (across measures such as quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality) for TV, radio, social media, newspapers and online, with TV performing strongest, and social media performing least well.
  • Social media is overtaking traditional channels for news among teens. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are now their top three most used sources for news. Meanwhile many sources have seen decreases since 2021, with reach of BBC One/Two decreasing to 24% in 2022 (down from 35% in 2021).
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