Is politics worthwhile on TikTok?
TikTok is highly popular among young people with its short videos. Given this popularity, the question arises as to whether political actors such as parties or political education institutions should also actively engage on this platform.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung analyzed in a qualitative study how young people use the app, how the evaluate information and whether they accept political content on tikTok.
Some key findings of the study are:
- TikTok is for entertainment. Information is also judged according to its entertaining character.
- The users are reluctant in uploading own content. While TikTok is a rather interactive platform (compared to Instragram or YouTube) still most of the users confine their contributions to “likes” but refrain from commenting of presenting own videos. The users are mostly well aware that their use of TikTok influences the algorithm which chooses further presented content.
- For information the respondents use specific news channels (e.g. Tagesschau, the main news program of the public broadcaster), mainly beyond TikTok. Information on TikTok is perceived skeptically throughout. Only information presented by the accounts of established news channels and partly by “verified” accounts is judged as reliable.
- The users are only seldom confronted with political content. Those with a great interest in politics welcome this content but don’t anything new. For information they use other channels. The less politically interested accept occasional political content and consider it partly as interesting but it does not raise further interest. The politically non-interested are annoyed by political content on TikTok.
- Politics on TikTok needs to be presented very briefly and in an entertaining fashion – just as all other content on the platform. Therefore, political content is often abridged, overstated and shady in its presentation. This raises criticism among the respondents.
Please note, to date the study is only available in German.