Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Political Science

First Advisor

Liam Heerten-Rodriguez


The worlds of social media and wellness have been similarly categorized as “Wild West” industries. Innovation in science and technology are growing exponentially and are increasingly a part of most people’s everyday lives. TikTok began in 2016 and has since accumulated 78.7 million users in the United States. The wellness industry was valued at $4.37 trillion worldwide in 2020, likely due in no small part to the concept’s proliferation across social media platforms like TikTok. This rapid growth has come with unforeseen consequences, both positive and negative. A negative consequence that has been more frequently discussed and researched in the past decade has been the proliferation of misinformation, information that is either untrue, misleading, or both. This study explored how wellness-interested interaction with content recommended by the TikTok algorithm affects the quantity of misinformation a user may see over time, as well as the qualities of the misinformation a user may see over time. Content analysis of 420 TikTok videos found that 15 of them included health and wellness misinformation, 25% of all the health and wellness content collected and analyzed. The theme of weight loss and rhetorical strategies utilized to motivate a viewer to lose weight were found to be prevalent throughout the sample, despite lack of any direct user input related to the topic, seemingly indicating need for further research into the indirect, implied messaging of “health and wellness” content and how its creators interact with social media algorithms.