New study showing misinformation on TikTok highlights importance of media literacy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — A new study showing that misinformation spread by one of the world’s largest social media platforms is driving some local educators to push for more media literacy.

According to a NewsGuard studyone in five TikTok videos contain information on relevant current topics.

TikTok, known for dancing and funny videos, is also the second most popular domain in the world, just behind Google.

Searches on TikTok can bring up videos on topics like COVID-19, climate change, and abortion. The Newsguard study shows that a lot of inaccurate information can be found in these searches.

While it’s no surprise to hear there’s misinformation on the internet, it’s concerning when it comes to the younger generation using TikTok. Cory Hutchins, a journalism professor at Colorado College, says studies like this allow educators to start teaching media literacy at an early age.

Hutchins says he teaches his students to do their due diligence, to research who provides information and where it comes from, and to think before reposting something.

“If something hits your radar on any type of social media feed and you’re wondering if you should share it, don’t immediately follow that instinct. Maybe you jump from that and do what it’s called a sideways reading and put that in a Google search for example If there’s a pretty inflammatory quote, check it out on a fact-checking site to see if it’s not incorrect or if it’s been debunked said Hutchins.

In a statement, TikTok said it does not allow harmful misinformation and will remove it from the platform. Over 102 million videos have been deleted so far in 2022.

Media literacy education has been a topic of conversation at the state and federal levels.

Governor Jared Polis signed a new law last year that requires the Department of Education to revise reading and writing standards to include media literacy skills for K-12 students. .

Currently, Illinois is the only state to require media literacy in classrooms.


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Donnie J. Milburn