By contributing author Mary Guthrie for Zaftyg Magazine

TikTok is a dynamic social platform full of creative people, many of them incredibly young. Recognizing their platform’s influence among the young, TikTok has announced a new initiative to improve digital literacy. Misinformation can spread like wildfire in this digital age. Upwards of up to 71% of people now get at least some news from social media, making all social media platforms key news sources. TikTok has been targeted by misinformation and disinformation groups. TikTok recently issued a transparency report, showing that they removed over 340,000 videos in the US in just the second half of 2020. These videos broke TikTok’s rules around election misinformation.

Just the Facts

The new campaign is called #FactCheckYourFeed. The goal is to help equip TikTok users with the skills they need to “critically engage with content, navigate our platform safely and guard themselves against potential harms.”

The campaign will use TikTok clips from creators and public figures, outlining lessons to discern and avoid misleading information. 

Since TikTok is so popular among the young, its influence is vital. Who better to stop the spread of wrong information? 

Windows into Worlds

What’s so great about TikTok is the artistic and aware way users connect in very personal ways. It is like windows into so many worlds flying by with zest and humor and joie de vivre. It’s intoxicating to encounter so many real people in this way. 

These are windows that break down walls between people, and that permeability makes us all vulnerable. It’s good that TikTok recognizes their unique position and is taking this opportunity to educate and protect us all.

“Tell me you’re a critical thinker without telling me you’re a critical thinker. I’ll go first.” – from a TikTok by journalist Max Foster. He’s doing a spin on one of TikTok’s most popular themes. He spins away from the camera to madly Google information to verify its integrity, thus illustrating how everyone can check the news for facts in a funny and relatable way.

ThisisIona is another TikToker who’s involved in the campaign. She is a student at Cambridge in England and her TikTok is about recontextualizing food. She prepares recipes from all over the world in her TikToks and talks about their history. For #FactCheckYourFeed, ThisisIona compares her approach to information to making a smoothie, saying it should be balanced and well-rounded. She includes sources like social media, newspapers, local news, long-form journalism, and friends and family. “Just like most things in life, it’s all about variety,” she says. 

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