How are genetically modified foods discussed on TikTok? An analysis of #GMOFOODS
(1) Avenues: The World Schoolhttps://doi.org/10.59720/23-031
Social media is an eminent form of expression of views on all topics, including dietary choices. We set out to look at what aspects of genetically modified foods (GMFs) drive the most engagement on the #GMOFOODS TikTok hashtag. Our main hypotheses were that content focused on the negative aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would receive more interaction and would be highly driven by consumers rather than professionals. We used videos that were viewed a total of 2,933,577 times collectively by TikTok users. Consumers had uploaded nearly all videos in our sample (n = 91). The most common content category was disadvantages for nutrition and health, noted in 71% of videos, followed by featuring an example of a specific GMO food or crop (68%). All categories that mentioned benefits of GMOs were low (4-6%). Mean number of views were significantly lower for videos that contained information on unintended biological effects (ecology, species of animals, insects or plants, gene transfer) (p = 0.05). Mean number of comments were significantly lower for videos that contained uncertainty of long-term effects on the human population (p = 0.01). Mean number of shares were significantly lower for videos that contained information on unintended biological effects (p = 0.03), antibiotic resistance, toxicity, allergenicity (p = 0.05), and environmental sustainability (p = 0.03). Further research is needed to determine TikTok influences on consumer food choices.