TikTok content creators who provide credible news on politics and international relations

By Nnoye Olisa (Guest Blog)

21 April 2024

Credit: Plann/https://www.plannthat.com/how-do-tiktok-stories-work/

In today’s fast-paced world, there are three TikTok channels that I watch for political news. The first one is from Zethu (@zethugqola) and the second one from Dan (@dancorder), both of whom I watch very often. Then a third from Kaitlin (@bykaitlinrawson) whom I don’t watch as often as the others, but when I do come across her videos, I appreciate them because she always inputs her sources and the specific legal documents relating to the situation. She also breaks down the complex academic language into simpler English which many viewers will appreciate.

I cannot give an exact date of when I first encountered these channels, but I have been consuming their content for about 3 years on and off. I have been more frequent in the past 2 years. As South African elections are coming up, more information is spread across the internet and so creators like this pop up on your for you page more often.

I used to listen to the news much more in high school because I would listen to the radio every day during my drive to school. Whereas now, in university, I have a constantly changing schedule so I’m not guaranteed to catch the news on my morning drive. I am on TikTok every single day for hours on end and I am therefore bound to receive my news from the app. Thanks to the algorithm, I don’t necessarily get news videos all the time, but they appear when it is relevant to the current political climate in the country.

The possibility of the channels feeding fake news and strategies for verification

While fake news is a reality to be lived with, when it comes to these creators specifically, I am not worried about them feeding me fake news. They deliver the news in a detailed and concise manner, making it easy for your average citizen to understand, which I think is a very important quality.

Importantly, they also make use of sources and input news articles and photos that concern the topic they are discussing, which you can easily search up and fact check. I appreciate that because it shows that they are sourcing their knowledge from sites they deem credible and not just delivering news without any concrete evidence. I also make sure I follow up and do my own research on the topic after watching their videos.

Still, while I’m not so much worried about them feeding me fake news, I am cautious of bias that may come with the delivery of the news. It is natural for human beings to be biased. Even when I listen to the radio or news reports, depending on the topic, the presenter may show some bias. I make sure to acknowledge the facts and look at the evidence they provide, but also detect the moments when it is just a personal opinion.

Linking TikTok channels and my political science curriculum

I study Politics and Development Studies, two courses which often deal with real-time political issues, especially in the South African/African context. These channels provide insight on domestic and international news and I am able to apply this knowledge to class discussions on real-time issues such as the upcoming South African elections, service delivery, international wars (Russia and Ukraine, Palestine and Israel) and many more. They don’t only focus on real time politics, they can also make videos on history to help people conceptualise the state of the country now and how history affects that. Dan Corder, specifically, made a video discussing the history of Apartheid and its economic impact on black people in South Africa today, which is a very relevant topic that I often discuss in my different lectures in university.

Nnoye Olisa is currently in her second year of studying for a BA Humanities: Politics and International Relations and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg. She can be found @Nnoye.o.