Spending 30 Minutes on TikTok a Day Significantly Increases the Chances of Holding Antisemitic and Anti-Israeli Beliefs, Study Finds

TikTok isn’t just reinforcing a ‘dangerous environment for Jews,’ a survey finds — it’s creating it.

AP/Michael Dwyer
TikTok logo on a cell phone. AP/Michael Dwyer

Shocking new data indicate that using TikTok a mere 30 minutes a day increases the chance of holding “antisemitic or anti-Israel” views by 17 percent, a number far above the same correlation on other social media platforms. 

That’s the latest research from a data scientist, Anthony Goldbloom, who founded a data science company called Kaggle, which was sold to Google in 2017. 

“TikTok users are more likely to believe Jewish people are dishonest in business, are disloyal to America, and have too much power in the media,” Mr. Goldbloom writes on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. He has also published the data for open viewing on GitHub.

TikTok users “are also more likely to disagree that Israel has a right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it,” he adds, and the app is creating a “dangerous environment to Jews.” For every one pro-Israel video view there are 54 pro-Palestinian video views, he says, adding that “Free Palestine” is a “top-performing” hashtag on the platform.

TikTok, a Chinese social media video platform that is enormously popular with America’s youth, has more than a billion active users each month worldwide. While TikTok, unlike Twitter or X, is not supposed to be a news platform, young people get enormous amounts of unfiltered and unedited news and information via TikTok’s millions of amateur content creators.

Mr. Goldbloom tells the Sun that “the genesis of this project” stemmed from curiosity about a thread on X discussing whether TikTok was driving antisemitism. He set out using his data background to try to get some answers. 

“Social media companies always say they’re a mirror, they just reflect back what society wants to see, what people engage with,” he says. Yet, he says, survey data of 18- to 24-year-olds shows roughly a 50-50 split on the Israel-Palestine conflict. If TikTok was just a mirror of younger adults, then 98 percent of them would be anti-Israel, he adds. 

“That was kind of a puzzle,” he says, and he and other researchers sent a private letter to TikTok to try to learn more. The letter signatories then contracted with a firm specializing in youth surveys, Generation Lab, to ask more than 1,300 adults under 30 questions about social media platform preferences, usages, and their views on a list of questions of “antisemitic” tropes.

The questions included whether “compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media” and whether “Jewish people chase money more than other people do.”

The results: Spending a mere 30 minutes per day on TikTok led to an average 17 percent increase in a user’s “antisemitic or anti-Israel views.” When asked by the Sun if the survey distinguished between “antisemitic” and “anti-Israel,” Mr. Goldbloom said it is difficult to split them because some of the sentiments discussed could be considered both anti-Israel and antisemitic.

When the researchers did distinguish between the terms, they found “spending 30 minutes or more a day on TikTok led to a 20 percent increase in antisemitic views and then a 12 percent increase in the likelihood of holding anti-Israel views,” he said.

The numbers are the latest in growing concern that the app — used as a regular news source by nearly a third of adults under 30 — requires intervention from lawmakers. 

In November, videos praising Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” went viral on the app, and anti-Israel content has been outnumbering pro-Israel videos by a wide margin since the October 7 Hamas attacks, as the Sun has reported. The app itself confirmed recently that the platform is taking action, as it is being flooded by fake accounts and bots that are “promoting Hamas, hate speech, terrorism, and misinformation.” 

TikTok’s policy branch has been clashing on X with a growing number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, calling out Senator Murphy, a Democrat of Connecticut, Senator Rubio, a Republican of Florida, and a number of House members. 

TikTok’s policy account repeatedly says on X that “our recommendation algorithm does not ‘promote’ one side of an issue over another” and that “hateful ideologies, including antisemitism, are not and have never been allowed on our platform.”

A TikTok representative was not immediately available for comment.

The New York Sun

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