- Three-quarters of Generation Z said TikTok has helped them to learn about social justice and politics, while the same number said the social video app helps them stay current on the news, per survey results that Reach3 Insights shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Social activism posts on TikTok have urged 54% of Gen Zers to engage in discussions with family and friends, 44% to sign petitions and 32% to educate themselves about something they saw on the app. Almost all (94%) of Gen Z said TikTok has generated meaningful action for the Black Lives Matter movement, while a similar percentage (96%) use TikTok for fun videos.
- Seventy-six percent of Gen Z said brands "have a duty help make a difference in the world," contrasting with 66% of people ages 25 and up who are indifferent to social justice statements and "efforts to help made by brands," the study found.
TikTok's ability to raise awareness about social justice issues among Gen Z may indicate that brands need to tailor their messaging on the social video app to reflect younger people's awareness of movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, it's not clear that social justice themes are a necessary part of successful TikTok campaigns. As with any platform, brands must be mindful of TikTok's audience and its sensitivities when developing a campaign to reach Gen Zers.
The social video app's strength as an activism platform has supported several recent cause-driven campaigns targeting younger consumers who tend to favor brands that support social movements. Chipotle Mexican Grill in June celebrated Pride Month with a "Lunch & Listen" session with influencers on its official TikTok channel, giving prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ community a platform to discuss their experiences. Backpack maker JanSport this year ran a multipart campaign on TikTok to promote the mental health of young adults and teens. Event company Superfly in June livestreamed a benefit concert on TikTok and other social platforms to help minority-owned businesses.
TikTok's role in raising awareness about social justice issues and politics among Gen Zers may support the claims by government officials in multiple countries that the app deserves greater scrutiny. TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and other countries fear that the Chinese government may be able to exploit the personal data that TikTok collects from users. The U.S. is weighing a ban on TikTok because of national security concerns, though that threat may be defused as software giant Microsoft considers buying TikTok's operations in several English-speaking countries.