Study: Social media increasingly UK adults’ news source

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Half of adults in the UK now use social media to keep up-to-date on the latest news, according to Ofcom’s annual news consumption report.

While TV remains the most popular platform for people to access news, usage has decreased since last year (75 per cent in 2019 vs. 79 per cent in 2018). In the same time, use of social media for news has risen from 44 per cent to 49 per cent.

Ofcom’s quantitative study, News consumption in the UK: 2019, looks at the way adults and older children in the UK consume news across television, radio, print, social media, other Internet sources and magazines.

Other findings from the research include:

  • After TV (75 per cent), the Internet is the next most-popular platform for news in 2019 (66 per cent), followed by radio (43 per cent). Over a third of adults (38 per cent) get their news from newspapers. But, when combining traditional print with newspaper websites and apps, overall use increases to 49 per cent;
  • BBC One remains the most popular news source, despite a decrease in use since last year (58 per cent in 2019 vs. 62 per cent in 2018). Use of BBC News Channel and BBC Two for news has also decreased since 2018 (from 26 per cent to 23 per cent and 14 per cent to 11 per cent respectively).
  • After BBC One, ITV (40 per cent) and Facebook (35 per cent) are the next most commonly-used news sources;
  • While use of Facebook for news has remained stable year on year, more people are using Twitter (from 14 per cent to 16 per cent), WhatsApp (from 10 per cent to 14 per cent) and Instagram (9 per cent to 13 per cent);
  • Magazines are rated more favourably than any other news platform for quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality. Social media platforms tend to be rated least favourably on these measures; for example, only 37 per cent of people who use social media for news said they thought it was impartial, compared to 78 per cent among users of magazines, 62 per cent for TV, 61 per cent for radio and 58 per cent for print newspapers; and
  • Six in ten older children aged 12-15 claim to be interested in news. Three quarters (76 per cent) said they read, watched or listened to news at least once a week.

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