Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Gettysburg chapter.

Scrolling through the infinite content void of TikTok has become an American pastime for a generation. People sit for hours watching video after video in an almost trance-like state that allows its viewers to essentially turn off their brains and just consume. This state of non-thinking, however, is a breeding ground for misinformation to spread rapidly. While surface level infographics on Instagram and politicized Twitter memes have plagued the internet with wildly misleading information for years, the extent to which TikTok engulfs its viewers and is able to convince people of anything via video format has transformed the scene entirely. 

Did you see just this last week that YouTube star and social media influencer Trisha Paytas had her baby the day the Queen of England died, and just so happened to name it Elizabeth? Because every other video I watched on TikTok that day shared this exact information- which was completely false. As of the publishing of this article, Paytas has just given birth to her daughter, who is unsurprisingly not named after the former Queen of England; this did not stop thousands of people from claiming this, however. All it took was one user to make up this falsehood, for another to see and react to it or post something similar without bothering to inquire further, and then everyone was sharing the misinformation without performing a single google search to see the truth. 

While this instance of spreading false information may not prove that important to our everyday lives (because who gets hurt when people meme about Trisha Paytas’s baby?), it can become genuinely detrimental when it concerns more important aspects of our lives; such as our diets. Another popular trend on TikTok recently was self-proclaimed dieticians insisting that various seed-based oils were “toxic” for humans to consume. This claim, again, is false. Regardless, thousands of TikTok users shared this information and thousands more now believe that they must buy more expensive cooking oils, such as those based in coconut and avocado, without verifying that any of this is remotely true. 

It’s important that we do not allow ourselves to negate the ability to think critically and to not fall for the same manner of misinformation our parents do when scrolling through Facebook. We cannot allow our technologically savvy generation to be one of media illiteracy. Just because someone says something in an authoritative or condescending tone does not mean they are telling the truth- and it’s important to utilize having the world’s information right in your pocket so you do not become another person fooled by viral lies.

Ashley Webb

Gettysburg '24

Ashley is a Junior and a History and Political Science double major at Gettysburg College, aspiring to continue her education after college and pursue a career in the realm of academia. Her pastimes include watching political debates, reading, and spending time with friends.