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Docs on TikTok Combat Sex Misinformation among Viewers

03/20/20

Medical professionals are joining the TikTok craze—sparking new conversations about health as well as the use of social platforms for unintended purposes

While most teens use TikTok to share humorous content or dance memes, some medical professionals are now using the video-sharing platform to help educate teens about safe sex and combat popular medical myths.

On TikTok, the traditional approach to sex ed often found in academic settings is abandoned, and instead, a more direct and even entertaining method of conveying information is utilized to help explain concepts such as the effectiveness of alternative birth control, or what to do if a condom breaks during sex.

Dr. Danielle Jones, a practicing gynecologist, is one such doctor who is active on the platform, racking up views in the 10s of millions so far. Dr. Rose Marie Leslie, a family medicine resident physician at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has also posted TikToks, including on topics such as the flu, HPV vaccines, and the potential dangers of vaping to lung health, the latter of which has garnered millions of views. In another post, she advises viewers to burn calories by practicing a viral TikTok dance.

These stories illustrate the importance of identifying unintended use cases on emerging and existing platforms alike, and how these creative use cases can actually be some of the most powerful tools to fight misinformation and educate the public about a particular issue or product.