Tiktok on Smart Phone Screen

Tiktok on Smart Phone Screen. Young Girl Pointing at Mobile Phone (© tashatuvango - stock.adobe.com)

NEW YORK — Despite being hailed as a decisive moment for digital privacy and international relations, under half of Americans are voicing their approval for the government’s controversial decision to ban TikTok, a new survey reveals.

Although only 42 percent of respondents openly support the ban, the new poll of 2,000 adults conducted by Talker Research finds that just 23 percent are against it. Another 31 percent have no real opinion on the matter.

Interestingly, 42 percent of Gen Z and 35 percent of millennial respondents say they regularly use the app. However, just 36 percent and 40 percent, respectively, support the ban

This research was conducted just before President Biden officially signed the bill into law, which gives TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, nine months to arrange a sale of the platform or face a ban in the United States. Only one in four respondents say they would be impacted by the bill passing, with 45 percent saying it would not impact them at all. 

In fact, 39 percent say the banning of TikTok in the U.S. would be “very” uneventful for them, and well over half (58%) report that they don’t use the app at all. Among parents polled, 47 percent are worried about their children using TikTok, with 21 percent finding the prospect of their child using the app “very” worrying. The top concern is the possibility of their child seeing inappropriate or disturbing content (58%), followed by worries that their kids might become obsessed with using social media (51%).

Forty-four percent of Americans also express concerns about data privacy, and 43 percent say they’re worried their child might be the victim of cyberbullying. Worrying about what children post and share (39%), who they are meeting or engaging with online (38%), and social media shortening their attention spans (29%) all topped the list of fears parents have about allowing TikTok to continue operating.

Conversely, one in five parents say that their child using TikTok was not a concerning issue.

Mother taking away smartphone from teen daughter.
Among parents polled, 47% are worried about their children using TikTok, with 21% finding the prospect of their child using the app “very” worrying. (© Кирилл Рыжов – stock.adobe.com)

Studies show TikTok is full of misinformation

Aside from security and privacy issues swirling around TikTok, studies have also found another unnerving fact about the platform — it’s simply full of misinformation.

One recent study discovered that almost half of health-related videos on TikTok (44%) contained non-factual information. In the study, only 15 percent of videos from medical professionals contained non-factual information, compared to nearly 60 percent of videos from nonmedical influencers.

“There is high-quality and factual information out there on social media platforms such as TikTok, but it may be very difficult to distinguish this from information disseminated by influencers that can actually be harmful,” says Christopher Roxbury, MD, a surgeon and rhinology expert at UChicago Medicine.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey was conducted by market research company Talker Research, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society (MRS) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). Data was collected from April 3 to April 8, 2024. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95 percent confidence.

About Patrisha Antonaros

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