Kong, W., Song, S., Zhao, Y.C., Zhu, Q. & Sha, L. | 2021 |
TikTok as a Health Information Source: Assessment of the Quality of Information in Diabetes-Related Videos|
J Med Internet Res| 23| 9| e30409 | doi: 10.2196/30409| PMID: 34468327
Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research this paper looks at the quality of information in diabetes-related videos on the TikTok social media platform. The study assessed almost 200 diabetes video on TikTok, the overall quality of the diabetes videos was found to be acceptable on average, although it varied significantly, depending on the type of source. The authors conclude that the health information needs of patients with diabetes might not be fully met by watching TikTok videos, and patients should exercise caution when using TikTok for diabetes-related information.
Background: Diabetes has become one of the most prevalent chronic diseases, and many people living with diabetes use social media to seek health information. Recently, an emerging social media app, TikTok, has received much interest owing to its popularity among general health consumers. We notice that there are many videos about diabetes on TikTok. However, it remains unclear whether the information in these videos is of satisfactory quality.
Objective: This study aimed to assess the quality of the information in diabetes-related videos on TikTok.
Methods: We collected a sample of 199 diabetes-related videos in Chinese. The basic information presented in the videos was coded and analyzed. First, we identified the source of each video. Next, 2 independent raters assessed each video in terms of the completeness of six types of content (the definition of the disease, symptoms, risk factors, evaluation, management, and outcomes). Then, the 2 raters independently assessed the quality of information in the videos, using the DISCERN instrument.
Results: In regard to the sources of the videos, we found 6 distinct types of uploaders; these included 3 kinds of individual users (ie, health professionals, general users, and science communicators) and 3 types of organizational users (ie, news agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit organizations). Regarding content, our results show that the videos were primarily about diabetes management and contained limited information on the definition of the disease, symptoms, risk factors, evaluation, and outcomes. The overall quality of the videos was acceptable, on average, although the quality of the information varied, depending on the sources. The videos created by nonprofit organizations had the highest information quality, while the videos contributed by for-profit organizations had the lowest information quality.
Conclusions: Although the overall quality of the information in the diabetes videos on TikTok is acceptable, TikTok might not fully meet the health information needs of patients with diabetes, and they should exercise caution when using TikTok as a source of diabetes-related information.