The Rise of TikTok in Indonesia’s Presidential Election

The Rise of TikTok in Indonesia’s Presidential Election

The Indonesian presidential election is fast approaching, and social media has become a crucial battleground for winning over voters. With a large percentage of the electorate consisting of millennials and Gen Z, candidates are turning to platforms like TikTok to connect with the younger demographic. In this article, we will explore the significant role TikTok plays in Indonesian politics, how each candidate utilizes the platform, and the challenges posed by misinformation.

TikTok has emerged as a key battleground in Indonesia’s presidential election. With 125 million monthly active users, it is the second-largest market for the platform. TikTok provides Indonesians with a platform to access news and updates about the election easily. All three candidates – Prabowo Subianto, Anies Baswedan, and Ganjar Pranowo – have recognized the importance of TikTok and are actively leveraging it to connect with voters.

Each candidate has adopted unique strategies to appeal to TikTok users. Prabowo, the frontrunner in the polls, has shifted his image from a macho figure to a more relatable and vulnerable persona. This strategic shift has resonated with viewers, particularly young women, who expressed solidarity with Prabowo in a viral TikTok video. Anies Baswedan, the former governor of Jakarta, has engaged with supporters through live broadcasts on TikTok, addressing a wide range of topics, including politics and personal advice. Surprisingly, he has gained popularity among K-pop fans, despite his past associations with conservative Islam. Ganjar Pranowo’s campaign focuses on showcasing his humble roots and interacting naturally with voters on the ground, aligning with TikTok’s preference for authentic and unpolished content.

Older politicians like Ganjar’s running mate, Mahfud MD, have had to familiarize themselves with TikTok to effectively campaign on the platform. Initially, the 66-year-old minister found it awkward to adapt to the live streaming format, but he quickly embraced the platform’s power and adjusted accordingly. TikTok campaigning requires politicians to be tech-savvy and responsive to the preferences of younger voters.

The rise of TikTok in Indonesian politics also brings with it concerns about misinformation. The spread of misinformation has been a significant issue in previous elections, and TikTok is now taking steps to limit its role as a platform for political messages and combat misinformation. Paid political advertising and fundraising are prohibited on TikTok. The platform has also partnered with government bodies, NGOs, and news agencies to combat misinformation. Edited or doctored video clips, shared out of context with false captions, have been a prevalent form of misinformation on TikTok. However, compared to other platforms like YouTube and Facebook, TikTok has a lower percentage of hoaxes and disinformation.

As the Indonesian presidential election unfolds, the role of TikTok in politics is likely to continue growing. Candidates will need to adapt their campaign strategies to effectively utilize the platform’s unique characteristics. Authenticity and originality are highly valued on TikTok, making it crucial for politicians to connect genuinely with voters. However, they must also navigate the challenges posed by misinformation and ensure the platform remains a reliable source of information for voters.

Indonesia’s presidential candidates have recognized the power of TikTok in reaching and mobilizing the country’s young voters. With its vast user base and unique characteristics, TikTok has become a key battleground for political campaigns. As the election approaches, candidates will continue to leverage TikTok to connect with voters and present themselves in a relatable and engaging manner. However, they must also address the challenges posed by misinformation to maintain the platform’s integrity as a source of credible information. TikTok’s influence on Indonesian politics is undeniable, and it will be fascinating to witness its impact on the outcome of the election.


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