TikTok: Your Source for News? I Hope Not

October 24, 2022

I read “A Quarter of US Adults under 30 Now Get Their News from TikTok” reports:

Among American adults, reliance on TikTok for news content has roughly tripled since 2020, rising from 3% to 10% in the past two years. More than a quarter of US adults under 30 now regularly use TikTok for news, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. This defies a larger national trend. Fewer Americans are consistently looking for news on social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Snapchat, according to Pew data since 2020.

Let’s assume these data are accurate. Furthermore, let’s assume that TikTok can display weaponized information.

What downstream consequences will this weaponization by a China-affiliated company have? Here are some ideas my team and I generated at a local chicken joint today )(Saturday, October 22, 2022):

  1. Digital content may spark directed mob behavior among cohorts consuming TikTok news
  2. The TikTok content consumer may find it increasingly difficult to accept ideas from a source other than TikTok
  3. The already declining ability to think critically may be accelerated
  4. Consumers of TikTok news may experience difficulty focusing on mental tasks requiring concentration and attention.

What if the research is flawed? My hunch is that most research is. It is entirely possible that those responsible for doing the work have had their mental faculties eroded. On the other hand, unacknowledged biases may have distorted the questions, the methodology, and the analysis.

But what if the research is spot on like a laser targeting site? Oh, that’s a question to research. Perhaps TikTok videos have an answer?

Stephen E Arnold, October 24, 2022


One Response to “TikTok: Your Source for News? I Hope Not”

  1. Hey, TikTok, You Are the Problem : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on January 4th, 2023 5:10 am

    […] TikTok has taken the world by storm, and the US is no exception. Especially among the youngest cohorts. That is a problem for several reasons, but it is the risk to privacy and data security that has […]

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