TikTok Deemed Trustworthy by Gen Zers, Who Use it for Search & Education

January 9, 2023

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Search Engine Optimization | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

It’s well known that youth have different social media platform preferences than their older counterparts. Indeed, as recent research from The Harris Poll and Grid indicates, YouTube is tops among Gen Z (83%), while Facebook – the leader among adults in general – doesn’t even figure among their top 3.

Facebook is the most trusted platform among adults overall, per the report, followed by YouTube and Twitter. Of note, Gen Zers are more likely than older respondents to find TikTok and Twitter to be trustworthy. For example, almost two-thirds (65%) see TikTok as trustworthy, compared to half of Gen Xers and about one-quarter (26%) of Boomers.

This is interesting in light of the real data privacy and national security concerns presented by TikTok usage in the US, as eloquently detailed by Scott Galloway here and Juan Mendoza here. Trustworthiness no doubt impacts the likelihood for people to use these platforms, and also the ways in which they use them.

In fact, separate research from The Harris Poll and Yahoo! Finance shows that “TikTok is the new Google” for Gen Z. The survey results reveal that more Gen Zers turn to TikTok to search for culturally relevant content than do YouTube, Google or Instagram. By comparison, older generations, Millennials included, continue to default to Google for these purposes.

Previous research has revealed that Gen Zers are using TikTok for product searches, but this latest data also reveals that TikTok is being used by most Gen Z in order to learn something (63%). Beyond areas such as food, fashion, and music, these youth are using TikTok to learn about career planning (37%), small/local business (36%), politics (28%), social structures/DEI (27%) and STEM categories (20%), per the report.

Finally, the study notes that 4 out of 5 Gen Zers and Millennials believe most lifestyles on social media are fake or overly perfected, and that close to three-quarters (73%) would like to see proof that people are living the way they claim to be on social media. A recent study of teens found that teens are much more likely to post about their accomplishments than their struggles, and that many at least sometimes hold off posting something because it doesn’t fit with how they’d like to represent themselves on social media.

About the Data: The Grid / Harris Poll results are based on a November 1-14 survey of 1,035 US adults (18+).


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