According to a report published by The New York Times (NYT), among young people belonging to generation Z, TikTok has displaced Google as a search engine.
According to this research, young people from this population segment, which are those born between 1990 and 2005, use this short video application as their primary source, despite the high level of misinformation in its content.
In addition to displacing social networks from the market, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, TikTok is also replacing Google, the most important search engine in the world.
The NYT maintains that the ByteDance app is used as a search engine, gaining positions as the main option when it comes to finding information on the Internet.
One of the reasons why TikTok beats Google in finding information for Gen Z is that this app caters to their tastes and interests.
While Google results respond to the PageRank algorithm, those of the music application prioritize those contents that could capture the user’s attention according to their interests.
Another reason for this phenomenon is that young people are looking for entertainment as well as researching a topic, so a short video seems more dynamic to them than a text.
One more of the reasons why those belonging to generation Z prefer TikTok over Google is that it allows them to see the opinions and comments of other users regarding products and services, and that at the same time provides a feeling of naturalness and authenticity when being ordinary people who make the content and offer answers.
Gen Z is increasingly using TikTok videos instead of Google search, but 1 in 5 of them contain misinformation, a new study says https://t.co/CdFBIZ32FK
— Tech Insider (@TechInsider) September 19, 2022
What does Google say about it?
Google is no stranger to this trend, since it has known for a long time that there are sectors that turn to Amazon, first of all, to obtain information regarding a specific product.
They are also aware that to access the most immediate news, they go to Twitch before YouTube, to enjoy video content and streaming video.
For his part, Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan acknowledged that younger users were now often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google search or Maps for discovery purposes.
“We keep learning, over and over again, that new Internet users don’t have the expectations and mindset that we’ve grown accustomed to,” he explained.
These trends demonstrate that young people aren’t searching for keywords, but are searching for content in new and more immersive ways.
For this reason, Google implements functionalities aimed at offering greater dynamism, interactivity and visual elements to its searches.
TikTok, a sea of misinformation
Despite the success of TikTok as a search engine, a recent investigation by the NewsGuard firm maintains that in searches carried out around 27 topics during the month of September, the platform’s public is exposed to disinformation.
By searching on featured topics, TikTok users are exposed to false and misleading claims.
El estudio sobre desinformación más reciente de Newsguard dice que 1 de cada 5 jóvenes utiliza TikTok antes que Google para buscar información y que es una de las principales causas de desinformación entre la juventud y me ha dado un escalofrío que me ha recorrido toda la espalda pic.twitter.com/iNTzeEyNr5
— Diego DNM (@DNMRULES) September 20, 2022
In the analysis, almost 20 percent of the videos submitted to explain topics such as the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus, school shootings, among other relevant topics, contained misinformation.
It was also found that the app repeatedly delivered videos containing false claims in the top 20 results, often within the top five, contrary to Google.