TikTok is where millions of Americans go to watch choreographed dance videos, cooking demonstrations, and someone on a skateboard drinking. cranberry juice. It’s also where more and more young Americans get their news.
Among US adults, reliance on TikTok for news content has roughly tripled since 2020, rising from 3% to 10% in the last two years. More than a quarter of American adults under the age of 30 now regularly use TikTok to find news, according to a new study of the Pew Research Center. This defies a broader national trend. Fewer Americans are constantly looking for news on social media, especially on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Snapchat, according to Pew data from 2020.
Pew may even underestimate the Chinese platform’s influence on American news consumption, as it did not survey tens of millions of TikTok users under the age of 18. Two-thirds of American teenagers 12-17 year olds use TikTok, an even higher proportion than the 57% who report using Instagram.
The political controversy of TikTok
TikTok rocketed to social media dominance after its launch in 2016, attracting more than billion users within a five-year period (it took Facebook more than 10 years to reach that milestone). Today, TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance are thriving despite losing access to their biggest market, Indiaby the military tensions between China and India, as well as by the growing concern of the US government. National security and data privacy (concerns reinforced by recent reports that US user data is being accessed. from mainland China).
Despite its popularity, TikTok is often not a reliable source of news. Like many other platforms, TikTok is riddled with Conspiracy theories, political misinformationY health misinformation. It has also faced mounting criticism over how it moderates content. Reports have indicated that it has blocked content critical of the Chinese government, including posts about the Hong Kong Pro-democracy protests Tiananmen Square massacreand Tibetan independence. TikTok’s COO recently assured US senators that without executives in the company have ties to the Chinese Communist Party, but the main technology companies in China are increasingly subject to the dictates of Beijing ruling party, including business owners search and discovery algorithms.
The media wants TikTok’s young audience
TikTok’s role in news distribution is still evolving, says Andrew Grant, a Pew spokesman. For now, a higher proportion of the Twitter audience still trusts the platform for news (53%), while only 33% of TikTok users trust it for news, compared to Reddit (37%). or YouTube (30%).
That hasn’t stopped American news organizations from flocking to TikTok to reach a new audience. The Washington Post was one of the first major US news organizations to have a presence on TikTok in 2019. For now, the Post’s TikTok account is primarily a way to familiarize young people with the paper, said senior video reporter Dave Jorgenson, in 2019delivering jokes and commentary on the news.
But others are treating it more like just another way to break the news, condensing their content into the platform’s signature short, little video clips. Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times, Max Foster of CNN and Victoria Derbyshire of the BBC read the news or provide political analysis on the app. NBC News produces a show called “Stay Tuned for TikTok.” NowThis has a strong presence that covers a wide variety of news topics.