New Poll Suggests Gen Z Adults Are Largely Skeptical of TikTok

How much do young adults trust social media platforms?

Man on a laptop
Gen Z adults have strong feelings about the trustworthiness of social media.
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Earlier this year, Congress questioned the head of TikTok about the social media platform’s influence on its young users – and whether or not the Chinese government could exert any control over its algorithm. Social media CEOs will be back in front of Congress early next year, as Reuters reported last month. But the results of a poll conducted earlier this year by YouGov and Business Insider suggests that a majority of young adults — here defined as members of Gen Z who are over 18 — are already relatively skeptical of social media platforms.

When it comes to TikTok, 57% of the adults polled said that they viewed it as somewhat or very untrustworthy; Facebook fared even worse, with 60% of adults responding to the poll holding a comparable view. The big winner in the poll was YouTube: 59% of adults polled found it somewhat or very trustworthy, and only 28% felt that it was somewhat or very untrustworthy.

For five of the six platforms, between 12% and 15% of respondents chose “not sure.” The exception there was WhatsApp, where 36% declared themselves “not sure.” And that makes sense: compared to YouTube, Twitter/X, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp is much more likely to feature only accounts that a user selected themselves.

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It’s reassuring to hear that young adults are, in fact, taking in social media with a grain of salt. That said, even YouTube, the platform that fared best in this poll, has drawn skepticism from experts on online culture. And with TikTok poised to be a flashpoint for the 2024 election, this poll is unlikely to be the last word in the debate.

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