Pew Survey Reveals Americans Trust TikTok for News Content Amid Political Turmoil

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 13, 2024 02:50 AM EDT

Pew Survey Reveals Americans Trust TikTok for News Content Amid Political Turmoil
This photograph taken on April 19, 2024 shows a man holding a smartphone displaying the logo of Chinese social media platform Tiktok in an office in Paris.
(Photo : ANTONIN UTZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the United States Congress's worries that the Chinese company ByteDance's video-sharing app TikTok would skew Americans' perceptions of current events in favor of China and eventually result in the passage of legislation requiring ByteDance to sell the platform or face a ban, a recent survey revealed that many Americans were not as concerned about anti-American propaganda as Congress believed.

March Pew Research report revealed that a significant number of the around 10,000 American adults it surveyed view TikTok as the app least likely to influence the news stories they see, whether via algorithmic recommendations or content moderation, compared to other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X, formerly Twitter.

Pew's Survey by the Numbers

Statistically, around 61% of US adults said that they felt TikTok was influencing the news they were shown, while 66% said X was, 72% said Instagram was, and 74% said Facebook was. 

Also, respondents who said they consumed news tend to disregard the accuracy of the information they found on TikTok (71%), compared to other social apps (76% on Instagram, 84% on Facebook, and 86% on X). 

The Verge reported that TikTok has been overperforming its counterparts in terms of perceived news accuracy and the degree to which it was viewed as censoring the type of news information it surfaced. This was particularly noted by US lawmakers, who criticized the platform for its moderation practice during current events like the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

TikTok has been pushing back such criticisms before US President Joe Biden signed the law mandating ByteDance to divest from TikTok or face a permanent ban. It is understood that Biden's campaign team created a TikTok account to reach out to as many younger voters as possible before the legislation was passed.

On the other hand, VCPost reported earlier this month that Biden's potential White House competitor, former US president Donald Trump, created his own TikTok account, which reversed his stance on the platform since 2020.

READ NEXT: Major TikTok Accounts Compromised by Hackers Via Direct Messages

Social App Users Love News Content

Meta, the parent firm of Facebook and Instagram, has recently leaned away from news as a category. 

Another finding in the survey revealed that 25% of X users said that getting news was a "major" reason they used the platform, while 15% of TikTok users mentioned the same reason. 

Meanwhile, TikTok also left users feeling the least "worn out" (at 47%) by the amount of news they see on the platform, compared to news on X (64%), Instagram (64%), and Facebook (70%). 

The survey also revealed that users get most of their news not from established news outlets or journalists but from "other people they don't know personally."

TikTok told Business Insider last year that they tend to view individual creators or non-news accounts as more authentic, relatable, and trustworthy sources than traditional institutions, which, according to the platform, could have an agenda.

This is despite the possibility that non-news accounts providing news content could have the possibility of not verifying their sources or reiterating or sharing their opinions on articles published by news sites.

READ MORE: Donald Trump Joins TikTok in Surprise Move, Uploads Attendance in UFC 302

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