TikTok’s transition to a more vlog-friendly space has led to an increase in content that is often very personal, testimonial and aimed at the right audience, accepted as gospel.
While this can be helpful, the format in which people share what they have experienced or seen means that misinformation can be in the eye of the beholder: a fact may be incorrect, but the feelings and experience of the user can be exact. “A lot of times when people are looking for information, what they really want is someone’s personal experience,” Fiesler said.
The current conversations about TikTok becoming Google for Gen Z aren’t too different from the early comments when YouTube gained popularity among millennials as a search engine.
“It’s not something new, necessarily,” Fiesler said.
With 1 billion monthly active users, I agree with Fiesler when she said TikTok is “as important as any other platform” when thinking about misinformation issues.
Snark aside, how do we navigate this growing audience of users who are increasingly comfortable relying on the platform as a source of valuable information when the platform itself doesn’t doesn’t seem overly concerned about the spread of misinformation? Fiesler said TikTok users should be prepared to be more critical of the information they consume and veterinary sources.
“That’s not to say that anything a random person on TikTok says without credentials is a lie, but you just need to know the difference between knowing it’s true and thinking, Oh I should watch thisWhere Oh, I should see what others had to say about it or, you know, it’s true, because we so often believe something immediately, just because we want to believe it,” she said. “Confirmation Bias.”
As with any platform, the pivot to TikTok as a search engine has its shortcomings, and as social media companies struggle to keep the platforms safe, transparent and accurate, again the burden unfairly puts the onus on the consumer to evaluate the content they interact with. with.
Learning to double-check information is a skill we all need to practice – so watch what other content an account has posted, be wary of personal accounts posting breaking news, don’t automatically post something without double-checking, read comments and view the assembled videos to see if others have discovered something you haven’t yet discovered.
TikTok is a great search engine for content about lifestyle and life in general, but let’s be skeptical as a news source.
In the words of rapper Fredro Starr, there’s always value when you “do your googles.”