News Consumption On TikTok Soaring Among Americans: Is It Concerning?
In contrast to several social media sites, where news consumption has either stayed about the same or declined, a growing share of US adults have said they regularly get news on the platform. In just 3 years, the share has more than quadrupled, from 3% in 2020 to 14% in 2023.
The finding is part of a new Pew Research Centre survey of Americans that has come as the short-form video sharing application, owned by China’s ByteDance, faces scrutiny from lawmakers over its ties to Beijing and the security of user’s information.
How Many US Adults Call TikTok A National Security Threat?
TikTok has become especially popular among teens and young adults. Those ages 18 to 29 are most likely to say they regularly get news on the app. The share in this age group remains at 32%, compared to 15% of those 30 to 49, 7% of those 50 to 64 and 3% of those 65 and older.
However, a Pew Research Centre survey in July found about 59% of Americans see TikTok as a major or minor threat to national security in the US. Just 17% of respondents said the platform doesn’t put national security at risk and another 23% aren’t sure.
Opinions also differ along partisan lines as seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said TikTok is a threat to national security in the US, compared with 53% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. Views of the platform as a threat also vary by age.
Just 13% of US adults ages 18 to 29 view TikTok as a major threat, compared to 46% among Americans 65 and older. Adults who do not use the platform are more likely than those who do to consider it a national security risk to the country.
Osama bin Laden’s Decades-Old Letter Reignites Criticism
Policymakers at the federal and state levels have increasingly raised concerns over TikTok’s data use practices, fearing the Chinese government could access data about Americans. These concerns have led to the banning of the app from federal government devices.
This week, dozens of young Americans posted videos on TikTok expressing sympathy with Osama bin Laden for his 2002 “Letter to America”, reigniting criticism of the platform. On Thursday, the app noted the videos promoting the letter violate its regulations.