Steven Barnett accuses Ofcom of using clickbait and misrepresenting its own data

3 August 2022


Steven Barnett has criticised Ofcom for misrepresenting its own data in a report into youth news consumption. The report from Ofcom claimed that the BBC, long the UK’s most trusted news source, has this year been knocked off the news consumption top spot in the 12-15 age bracket. The findings were published under the headline, “Instagram, TikTok and YouTube teenagers’ top three news sources” – giving the impression that social media was now the primary source for younger people’s news consumption.

Barnett notes however that a proper reading of Ofcom’s own data shows that when all BBC platforms (not just TV) are taken into consideration a rather different story emerges, with the top 3 news sources for 12-15s being: BBC – 39%, Instagram – 29%, TikTok – 28%. Excluding the BBCs digital content – which is perhaps more comparable to social media sites for type of consumption – Barnett described as “dangerously misleading” and suggested that Ofcom “seem to be searching for negative BBC interpretations”.



Furthermore, Barnett notes that Ofcom themselves report that only 30% of TikTok users consider news on the platform to be trustworthy.

Read more on this story on the power and pop culture blog by Eliz Mizon.


Photo by Obi – @pixel6propix on Unsplash

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