Nearly half of Gen Zers prefer TikTok over Google for news

Jul 20, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jul 21, 2022, 9:08 am
Image of TikTok offices in the United States....
The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on August 27, 2020 in Culver City, California. A Utah tech leader voices concern over TikTok user data collected and used by the Chinese government. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — A journalism professor says her students like to get their news in bite-sized pieces such as TikTok rather than Google. If they want to know more about a news event, they will visit the news organization’s website to read more about it.

Google’s internal data, which was first reported by TechCrunch, revealed that nearly 40 percent of Gen Z users (born in the late 1990s and early 2000s) prefer to use TikTok and even Instagram for internet searches instead of Google Search and Maps, as reported by Business Today.In.

Welcome to the show

Maria Shilaos, host of KSL NewsRadio’s Utah’s Noon News and a journalism professor at the University of Utah, joins Dave & Dujanovic to talk about how her students are getting their news today.


Dave says he prefers TikTok over Google for how-to videos because it’s easier to use.

“Say I want to change the oil in my car, and I want to watch a quick video. If I go to YouTube, and the video might be 9, 12, 15 minutes long, TikTok is limited. It can only be a little over a minute or so. So I will go to TikTok to figure it out versus Google. It’s very easy.”

News from TikTok

Dave and Debbie listen to a half-minute clip from Under the Desk News on TikTok:

“It’s Tuesday night and here’s what happened. With a vote of 267 vs. 157, the House has passed The Respect for Marriage Bill.

If the bill clears the Senate, it would guarantee the right to interracial, interfaith and same-sex marriage because it would be a bill that was voted on by Congress and not a case decided on by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court couldn’t mess with it.

Most Republicans were pretty quiet because they don’t want to openly reject the idea of gay marriage, but Josh Hawley did go on record to say that he was not inclined to support this bill at the Senate level.

Meanwhile, across the street, AOC and 16 other Democratic House members got arrested for blocking traffic during an abortion protest in front of the Supreme Court and social media was a flutter with this.”

Dave agreed that the clip was a good example of what TikTok news sounds like.

“TikTok is different from the other social media sites because you’ll have like 50 irrelevant videos and then they’ll squeeze in this one little news clip  . . . because you’re just swiping up, swiping up, swiping up, and then all of a sudden, oh, here’s a news story,” he said. 

Shilaos said one thing TikTok does really well is get the user’s attention.

Dave said it was strange for him to get news of TikTok from people who are not trained as journalists.

Where U. journalism students get their news

“What have you noticed in terms of your students in class? Are you noticing them turning more and more to social media to get their news?” Debbie asked.

“So, the answer would be yes. At the very beginning of the course, each semester, I ask my students to define what news is to them and where do they get their news?” Shilaos said.

When she began teaching at the U. of U. in 2016, students mainly said they got their news from radio, TV, Facebook and Twitter.

“This last semester — I went back to look to make sure I was giving you accurate information — and more than half of them get a good deal of their information from social media and from podcasts,” Shilaos said.

She added students like TikTok specifically because they can get the news in bite-sized pieces.

“One of the students said, ‘I like to watch the Washington Post TikTok account. They just give it to me in such a great way, and then if I like what I see, I will go back and read that full article in the Washington Post,’ ” Shilaos said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Nearly half of Gen Zers prefer TikTok over Google for news