- A new study by a site that tracks online misinformation found that 1 in 5 videos on TikTok contain misinformation.
- The study found that TikTok often yields more partisan search results than Google.
- Gen Z users are increasingly turning to TikTok instead of Google as their primary search engine.
That might be a serious predicament.
A new study by NewsGuard, a site that monitors misinformation across the internet, found that one in five search results on TikTok contains misinformation. The study analyzed the top 20 search results across 27 different news topics ranging from "2022 election" to "mRNA vaccine."
NewsGuard's study found that TikTok also prompted users with biased search terms. For example, if a user searched for "covid vaccine." TikTok would offer suggestions for more biased search terms such as "covid vaccine truths" or "covid vaccine hiv." More than half of the search results that popped up about the 2022 midterm elections contained "hyper-partisan left-leaning rhetoric," the study noted.
The rampant misinformation on TikTok is particularly significant given the number of home remedy videos circulating on the platform. The ongoing baby formula shortage has led to a nebula of videos promoting DIY baby formula that pediatricians have labeled as "dangerous."
After the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, herbal remedies for abortion began trending on TikTok. Videos that suggested everything from bitter garnish parsley to mugwort, a flowering plant, were toted as remedies for abortion. Insider reported that a TikTok video that suggests that mugwort can induce a miscarriage had over 1 million views on TikTok. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health noted that "very little research has been done on Mugwort in people."
Meghna T., a senior from suburban Michigan, said that if she's searching for anything health or education related she still uses Google. For "everything else" though she turns to TikTok.