Community Mitigation of COVID-19 and Portrayal of Testing on TikTok | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a popular source of information about health, including COVID-19 and testing information. One of the most popular communication channels used by adolescents and young adults who search for health information is TikTok—an emerging social media platform.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe TikTok videos related to COVID-19 testing.


Methods: The hashtag #covidtesting was searched, and the first 100 videos were included in the study sample. At the time the sample was drawn, these 100 videos garnered more than 50% of the views for all videos cataloged under the hashtag #covidtesting.


The content characteristics that were coded included mentions, displays, or suggestions of anxiety, COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine, types of tests, results of test, and disgust/unpleasantness. Additional data that were coded included the number and percentage of views, likes, and comments and the use of music, dance, and humor.


Results: The 100 videos garnered more than 103 million views; 111,000 comments; and over 12.8 million likes. Even though only 44 videos mentioned or suggested disgust/unpleasantness and 44 mentioned or suggested anxiety, those that portrayed tests as disgusting/unpleasant garnered over 70% of the total cumulative number of views (73,479,400/103,071,900, 71.29%) and likes (9,354,691/12,872,505, 72.67%), and those that mentioned or suggested anxiety attracted about 60% of the total cumulative number of views (61,423,500/103,071,900, 59.59%) and more than 8 million likes (8,339,598/12,872,505, 64.79%). Independent one-tailed t tests (α=.05) revealed that videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 testing was disgusting/unpleasant were associated with receiving a higher number of views and likes.



Conclusions: Our finding of an association between TikTok videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 tests were disgusting/unpleasant and these videos’ propensity to garner views and likes is of concern. There is a need for public health agencies to recognize and address connotations of COVID-19 testing on social media.


read the study report at