After being rebranded from its former name of Musical.ly, TikTok has now become one of the most popular social media apps for younger generations. As a never ending scroll of jokes, memes, opinions, and whatever the users find interesting enough to point out, this app has gained the attention of an audience ranging from ages 16 and 24 years old. Due to its youthful audience, the humor on this app is very different than what other generations would find amusing. To put it simply, nothing is taboo to joke about on TikTok. Depending on recent news trends or what types of jokes gain more traction, the range of material can be from partaking in dance trends, all the way to joking about the “World War 3” draft. Now that a new platform for spreading information has emerged, many news providers are broadening their reach in order to bring correct and current news to the apps audience.
Whether it be from Instagram or Twitter, the members of Generation Z rarely obtain their news from its original sources. Many different news providers have made the effort to provide a social media presence for widespread news so that the people who find scrolling through a news website or reading the daily paper boring can stay informed about current issues. These news sources are now making the move to establish themselves on Tiktok. Companies like ESPN, NBC News and The Washington Post are now launching accounts to incorporate their news into the trends circulating the TikTok app. Their content ranges from behind the scenes videos to employees taking part in certain dance trends all so that they can gain followers and popularity in order to inform people when the jokes and misinformation get out of hand later on. During the trend of the idea of a WW3 draft, USA Today made a post giving its audience a “What You Need to Know” video about the tensions between the US and Iran. Despite not gaining as much popularity as other trending videos, this post reached at least 50,000 people, videos concerning news about the Australian fires reaching 63,000.
Tiktok is seen as an escape for the younger generation from the actual troubles of the world, and these companies know this. Despite wanting to get the news out there, there is an understanding that this funny and ultimately happy app isn’t something that should be overrun by news since that is not what Tiktok users are there for. Dave Jorgenson, a journalist for the Washington Post said, “If i can find a TikTok that fits within what people are talking about on TikTok that also is related to the news, I will do that, but I never want to force it in with what already is trending on TikTok (CNN).” The bridge between social media and the news is one that depends on the type of content an app is meant for. Twitter and Facebook, although used for humor, are also mainly used as a source of daily news and current events based on its trending pages. Apps like TikTok are made purely for jokes and wasting time for the younger generations. However, the attempt by news sources to find ways to keep this generation informed has been a successful one in that they understand the boundaries in where they should push news to its audience, and when the audience should be left alone to their viral dance trends.