The UK’s communications regulator has found that teenagers in the country are turning away from traditional news channels and are instead looking to Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
In its News Consumption in the UK 2021/22 report, released on Thursday, Ofcom said that social media is overtaking traditional channels for news among teens. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are now their top three most used news sources.
News viewing to BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC News channel, ITV, and Sky News is now below pre-pandemic levels, which Ofcom said is part of a longer-term decline in traditional TV news viewing.
TikTok’s reach for news increased from 1 percent in 2020 to 7 percent in 2022. Half of its user base for news is aged 16–24, bringing it on par with Sky News’ website and app.
TikTok is a hugely popular short-format video app that allows users to create and share videos. It started in China as “Douyin” in September 2016, but was relaunched as TikTok internationally in September 2017.
Users of TikTok for news claim to get more of their news on the platform from “other people they follow” (44 percent) rather than “news organisations” (24 percent).
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, said in a statement:
“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.
“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.”
Instagram is the most popular news source among teenagers, used by 29 percent in 2022.
Chinese Communist Party
In February, Casey Fleming, a cyber security expert and CEO of strategic advisory firm BlackOps Partners, warned on EpochTV’s “Wide Angle” program, that if people use TikTok, they may be feeding information to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence services.
All the private information that the app is collecting may be fed directly to the Chinese regime, he warned, citing a range of Chinese laws that compel companies to cooperate with regime authorities when asked.
“All of your data on that phone,” Fleming said, “everything you do, and everything that you have stored on your phone is being sent out of the country, possibly to be used against you,” he said.
“The Communist Party of China is collecting vast amounts of data. It may not be used against you today. But this information might be used against you, your company, or your country in the future,” he added.
The Epoch Times contacted TikTok for comment.