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TikTok on the Clock

Wall clock displaying the TikTok logo

TikTok on the Clock.

What’s going on?
Despite lingering security concerns, TikTok is the third social media platform to surpass more than 100 million monthly users.

Byte-sized breakdown:
  • Facebook and Instagram are the other two social media platforms with such monthly activity.
  • TikTok reached this milestone in six years, whereas Instagram took eight years.
  • The bulk of TikTok users are between 25-54, covering an unprecedented large age pool.
  • On average, TikTok users spend almost 56 minutes per day on the platform.
  • Time spent consuming videos on TikTok is beating YouTube and gaining on Netflix.
  • By 2025, it is expected that there will be more social network users than TV viewers.

Healthcare videos are one of the most popular professions viewed on TikTok. According to the SPM Consumer Compass®, 25% of Americans consider social media to be a trustworthy source for healthcare information, and 42% of frequent TikTok users trust the platform to discuss or as a source of reliable medical information. A November 2022 survey by Tebra found that U.S. adults want to see from their healthcare provider’s social media:

A healthcare brand who has dove in head first as a successful TikTok-er is @mdandersoncancercenter, with engaging educational videos like:

Play Video about MD Anderson Cancer Center video cover image of an illustrated colon

Others are being much more cautious due to the many concerns regarding data privacy and security on TikTok, the biggest being its potential to collect and access user data. The app has faced allegations of gathering excessive amounts of personal information, including location data, device identifiers, and even clipboard contents, without adequate user consent. The social media giant has been banned on government devices and networks in 34 states, in addition to a personal device ban in Montana. Another worry is TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government with the app’s parent company, ByteDance, being based in China.

What's The Squeeze?
To dive in or stay safe on shore? It takes time to learn to swim.

TikTok has made efforts to improve its security practices, but the ongoing scrutiny and recent Meta data privacy lawsuit highlights the importance of necessary data protection measures across social media platforms. Only time will tell TikTok’s fate, but here are three key takeaways for healthcare communications professionals to keep top of mind based on what we know today:

  1. If TikTok used its red flag filter on itself, the allegation surrounding data collection and misuse of that data would appear every time. It’s important that those who choose to advertise on TikTok ensure no privacy violations are occurring, and for individual users to remain vigilant when using such platforms.

  2. TikTok continues to achieve remarkable growth. Current trends indicate the shifting landscape of media consumption to a mobile first, video first online environment. (Start practicing those dances, advertisers!)

  3. With 30% of GenZers and 26% of Millennials turning to social media for medical information, healthcare providers have the opportunity to debunk misinformation and engage with patients in a more meaningful way. However, with this opportunity comes the challenge of delivering accurate and reliable medical content, and to call out fake news they see circulating elsewhere.

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