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New study showing misinformation on TikTok emphasizes the importance of media literacy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A new study showing the misinformation being spread by one of the world's largest social media platforms is causing some local educators to push for more media literacy.

According to a study by NewsGuard, one in five TikTok videos contains information when it comes to relevant news topics.

TikTok, known for dancing and fun videos, is also the second most popular domain in the world, only behind Google.

Searches on TikTok can bring up videos on topics like COVID-19, climate change, and abortion. The study by Newsguard shows a lot of inaccurate information can be found in these searches.

While it's not surprising to hear that there's misinformation on the internet, it is concerning when it comes to the younger generation that uses TikTok. Corey Hutchins, a journalism professor at Colorado College, says studies like this allow educators to start teaching media literacy at an early age.

Hutchins says he teaches his students to do their due diligence, look up who is providing the information and where it's coming from, and think before they repost something.

"If something comes across your radar on any kind of social media stream and you're wondering if you should share that, don't immediately follow that instinct. Maybe jump off that and do what’s called lateral reading and put that into a Google search for instance. If there’s a pretty incendiary quote, check that on a fact-checking site to see if it comes up as no this is incorrect or this has been debunked," said Hutchins.

In a statement, TikTok said they don't allow harmful misinformation and will remove it from the platform. More than 102 million videos have been removed so far in 2022.

Teaching media literacy has been a topic of conversation at the state and federal levels.

Last year, Governor Jared Polis signed a new law that requires the Department of Education to revise reading and writing standards to include media literacy skills for students in K-12.

Right now, Illinois is the only state to require media literacy education in classrooms.


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Jessica Gruenling


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