Money Wellness
A Gen Z girl viewing social media on her phone with all social media icons around her. Gen Z twice as likely to get news from social media than BBC. Finfluencers. #FinTok
category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon28 Feb 2024

Gen Z are twice as likely to get their news from social media than traditional outlets

Younger generations are shying away from traditional news outlets in favour of social media, according to a new report called Talking to the Nation: How to Speak to Modern Britain. 

The research – one of the largest of its kind - looked at the UK’s media habits and found that even though Gen Z are twice as likely to get their news from social media, they trust its content less than traditional, mainstream outlets.

Those taking part in the research were asked to rank their most trusted media outlet in order of preference.

Those born between 1997 and 2012 ranked television news channels as the most trustable source of information (31%), followed by newspapers and dedicated news websites.

Only 11% trusted the content they read on social media.

But despite that, more than a third said social media feeds were their primary news source, compared to almost a fifth who said television, 13% who read newspapers and 12% who accessed news websites.

Unsurprisingly, traditional media was still the most popular news source among older generations, with over half of 45–54-year-olds saying they receive 40% of their new from TV, 16% newspapers and a fifth from news websites.

The report was commissioned by Lee Cain, a former No 10 communications director and partner at Charlesbye. He said: “Gen Z is overwhelmingly turning to social media for news, despite trusting it far less than traditional news sources.

“This generation is ushering in a post-truth media age where they prioritise content over truth.”

The report mirrors the explosion of content creators offering money advice on social media but how can you know what to trust and what’s a load of nonsense?

Can you trust financial advice on social media?

There are millions of creators churning out what’s become known as #FinTok with everything from how to get out of debt and pay down your credit cards, to loud budgeting and soft saving. And while some content creators are hugely trustworthy others are less knowledgeable and some content could be misleading and land you in trouble.

The bite-sized videos can make complex money issues easy to digest and accessible. They’re probably more interesting than listening to someone droning on. However, you need to be careful about who you chose to trust, as anyone can call themselves and expert and set up a social media account regardless of how knowledgeable or experienced they are.

Financial advice is regulated – and it’s regulated for a reason. To ensure that the advice you are given ensures the best possible outcome for you and your money. The danger is that the ‘finfluencers’ you are listening to haven’t undergone the same amount of rigorous training and aren’t authorised to provide that type of advice – meaning the advice could be incorrect and you’ll have no redress if anything goes wrong.

And because TikTok videos are by design short soundbites, they’re not best placed to offer the detail you need to make money decisions.

TikTok and other social media platforms are a great tool for research and for teaching people about money but it’s best to seek professional financial advice before making any decisions that could be life changing.  

Remember the advice about anything you see online is verify, verify, verify!

Here’s some tips to help you spot bad financial advice on TikTok:

  • Avoid anyone who claims they have built wealth overnight or offers ways to help you avoid paying taxes. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
  • Anyone can be an expert online – look for creators with experience. Do some research into their background and see what qualifications they have for providing advice.
  • Be aware that a lot of what you’re viewing could be because it’s making them money. Only 20% of financial advice on social media has any disclosure so its difficult to see if they’re receiving commission or sponsorship for promoting products or making recommendations.  
  • Use TikTok as part of your research. Take what you find and look around to see if it matches advice from other sources. Not only will it verify what you’ve seen but it will ensure you’re getting a diverse range of perspectives on the subject.
  • Don’t fall for the hard sell. There’s absolutely no need to act fast and nothing will sell out. Avoid anything that preys on your fight or flight instinct.
  • Remember everyone has different circumstances and there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to money. No regulated, professional adviser would give you the same piece of advice as the next person in the queue, so don’t allow it to happen on social media.  

If you’re looking for money saving tips, budgeting advice, or ways to manage your money, you can follow our socials for trusted help and advice. You can find us here:

www.instagram.com/moneywellnessuk

www.facebook.com/ukmoneywellness

https://www.linkedin.com/company/moneywellnessuk

www.twitter.com/ukmoneywellness

https://youtube.com/@moneywellnessuk

www.tiktok.com/@moneywellnessuk

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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