STORY BY MONICA BADOLIAN, STAFF WRITER
PHOTO BY PIXIE IWATA, STAFF WRITER
As Tik Tok is becoming more convenient and easier to navigate, most teens and those who are part of Gen Z are using the social media platform as the new Google.
When searching on TikTok, users have a more interactive experience than when searching on Google. Watching multiple videos to curate content is the new way Gen Zers find what they’re looking for instead of just scrolling through a block of texts.
The app Tik Tok was released in September 2016 and has become wildly popular worldwide. The entertainment app is made for those who want to share their creative, funny, or just regular thoughts with videos that last up to three minutes. But lately, as more and more teens spend longer on the app, statistics show that more people interact with Tik Tok for information rather than the Google search engine.
According to morningconsult.com, in February, 14 percent of Gen Z adults reported using TikTok to start researching a major news event, significantly higher than the share of all adults (two percent) saying the same.
There is so much content on Tik Tok to learn or get ideas on. For school, tutors on Tik Tok help students with many problems like math. For beauty, many influencers share their favorite makeup brands and how to apply a specific product type. For business, many companies have created their own Tik Tok accounts to share their ideas and help their brand grow. There’s also cooking, where one can find thousands of delicious recipes.
Along with those themes come many more. One that is a significant search engine on Tik Tok is just general news. Instead of “googling” what is happening worldwide, people are going to Tik Tok to watch short videos about what is happening right away rather than reading a long article online. Cypress College student Gea Lopez, majoring in teaching, said she receives most of her news on Tik Tok. “I’m on Tik Tok all the time, usually for about three hours,” she said.
Morningconsult.com also stated that nine percent of adults start researching news events on the former, compared with just two percent for the latter. This speaks to how TikTok can help news brands make inroads with Gen Zers faster than other social platforms can.
Tik Tok is a free app, which is another reason why it’s so wildly popular. Gen Z, Millenials, Gen X, everyone can find whatever information they want to watch for free.
One negative effect is that many people on the app spread false information they may be unsure of. Francesca Tripodi, an information and library science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in an article for the New York Times, “TikTok’s” algorithm tends to keep people on the app, making it harder for them to turn to additional sources to fact-check searches.”
Most students who are a part of Gen Z said that they fact-check before believing something right away on Tik Tok. Cypress College student Alexandria Martin, majoring in dental hygiene, said, “I usually read the comments or go to other videos, and I’ll just look it up first because some things there aren’t true.”
Another Cypress College student Laura Garcia, majoring in Nursing, said, “Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t because other videos pop up saying different things.”
With Tik Tok taking over social media and now most likely google, it’s crucial to consider whether it will stay this way for a long time.