Can you get trustworthy news from TikTok?

TikTok has emerged as a prominent player in the social media world, offering short-form videos that cover a wide range of topics, including news from across the globe.

Ofcom’s latest News consumption in the UK report shows that nearly three in ten teenagers in 2022 used TikTok as their primary source of news (28 per cent).

But can you truly get trustworthy news from TikTok? Here are our top tips and things to look out for…

The challenge of credibility

While TikTok offers a unique and engaging way to share information, its format poses challenges when it comes to credibility. The short video format limits the amount of context that can be provided, potentially leading to oversimplification or misinformation.

Remember anyone can become a content creator on TikTok, regardless of their expertise or journalistic integrity. It doesn’t take long for someone to create a professional online presence. This doesn’t mean they’re more trustworthy.

  1. Look at the sources: Unlike traditional news outlets that follow editorial standards and fact-checking processes, TikTok videos might lack the rigorous vetting necessary to ensure accuracy. Look out for ‘blue ticked’ (verified) well-known sources that you might have already heard of, such as BBC and ITV News.

  1. Bias and opinions: TikTok videos from individuals may reflect the personal opinions and biases of their creators. Be alert and ensure that you don’t perceive opinions as facts. Big news outlets are monitored by OFCOM and must provide unbiased and accurate news. Individuals on TikTok do not undergo this regulation or monitoring.

  1. Lack of Context: Complex news stories require context and background information to be fully understood. However, TikTok’s time constraints make it challenging to provide comprehensive context, which can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the news. Search online to find ‘the bigger picture’ before believing the story… or sharing it further!

Navigating TikTok for news

While TikTok may not be the most reliable platform for in-depth and trustworthy news, it can still offer value when approached with caution and critical thinking…

  1. Diversify your sources: Don’t rely solely on TikTok for news. Instead, use it as one of many sources of information. Compare what you see on TikTok with established news outlets and reliable websites to get the full story.

  1. Do some research: If a TikTok video presents a news story or information that grabs your attention, take the time to research the topic further. Look for multiple credible sources to verify the accuracy of the information.

  1. Consider the creator: Investigate the TikTokker’s background and expertise. Are they a trained journalist, an expert in the field, or simply sharing their personal opinions? Understanding the creator’s perspective can help you assess the reliability of the information.

  1. Engage thoughtfully: If you come across news-related content on TikTok, ensure you are not being further swayed by the comment section. This is where information may become even more misinterpreted or skewed! Remember to Be Kind Online.

TikTok accounts that we recommend for news

Remember that big media companies like the above have many journalists working to verify stories day and night. They’re also upheld by OFCOM which monitors and regulates broadcast media such as news. They have a duty to create unbiased news that is as accurate as possible.