Instagram, TikTok & YouTube teenagers’ top three news sources

Lakh Baddhan

Senior Editor


Teenagers in the UK are turning away from traditional news channels and are instead looking to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to keep up to date, Ofcom has found.

Ofcom’s News Consumption in the UK 2021/22 report shows that, 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. The proportion using Facebook for news has also decreased to 22% from 27% last year, and from 34% in 2018.

Other findings include:

– BBC One remains the most used news source among 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.

– TikTok clocks up millions more news users. Conversely, TikTok has seen the largest increase in use of any news source between 2020 and 2022 – from 0.8 million UK adults in 2020 (1%), increasing to 3.9 million UK adults in 2022 (7%). This brings it onto a par with Sky News’ website and app.

– TV news remains trusted. 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. Sixty-seven percent of newcomer GB News’s viewers trust its news reporting.

– Decline in print news appears to accelerate. The combined use of print and online newspapers among adults is 38% in 2022, a significant decrease from 2020 (47%) and 2018 (51%). This is driven by the substantial decline of print newspaper reach in recent years, with the trend seen pre-pandemic appearing to accelerate, likely exacerbated by the pandemic.