TikTok and Politics: How the Social Media App is Shaping Indonesia’s Presidential Race

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tiktok and politics how the social media app is shaping indonesia's presidential race

TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, has become a new battleground for Indonesia’s presidential candidates, who are trying to attract young voters ahead of the February 14, 2024 election. 

The app, which has around 99 million monthly active users in Indonesia, allows users to create and share short videos with music, filters, and stickers. The app also features live-streaming, interactive talks, and challenges, which enable users to engage with their favorite celebrities, influencers, and politicians.

The Strategy

The three presidential-vice presidential candidates have been using TikTok to showcase their personalities, policies, and achievements, as well as to communicate and interact with their supporters and potential voters. They are:

  • Ganjar Pranowo, the incumbent president from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is seeking a second term. He has been active on TikTok since 2022, when he was the governor of Central Java. He has 7.4 million followers and posts videos on various topics, such as mental health, education, environment, and culture. He also hosts live-streaming sessions, where he answers questions and listens to feedback from the public.
  • Anies Baswedan, the former governor of Jakarta from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, who is challenging Pranowo for the presidency. He joined TikTok in late December 2023, and has gained more than 1 million followers. He posts videos on his vision and mission, as well as his achievements and initiatives as the governor of Jakarta. He also participates in challenges and trends, such as dancing and singing, to appeal to the younger audience .
  • Ko Wen-je, the founder and chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), who is running as a third-party candidate. He is a former mayor of Taipei and a popular political figure, known for his outspoken and unconventional style. He has 2.3 million followers and posts videos on his opinions and insights on various issues, such as democracy, economy, and security. He also uses humor and sarcasm to criticize his opponents and to highlight his differences from them.

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The Impact

TikTok has a significant impact on the presidential race, as it offers a platform for the candidates to reach and influence millions of young and first-time voters, who make up about 54 percent of the total electorate. 

TikTok also allows the candidates to showcase their human and relatable side, as well as to address the issues and concerns that matter to the younger generation, such as employment, education, and climate change. TikTok also enables the candidates to create a sense of community and engagement among their followers, as well as to mobilize them to participate in the election.

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