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  • Monday, 26 February 2024
TikTok Takes Center Stage in Indonesia's Presidential Campaign

TikTok Takes Center Stage in Indonesia's Presidential Campaign

In the midst of Indonesia's presidential campaign, TikTok emerges as a pivotal battleground for candidates vying for the attention of the nation's youthful electorate. With 125 million users, TikTok has become a central platform for political engagement, but its influence comes with a set of challenges.


At just 22 years old, voter Irene Putri Aisyah exemplifies the demographic targeted by candidates seeking to harness TikTok's vast reach. From dance performances to cooking demonstrations, Aisyah captures and shares snippets of campaign events, reflecting the platform's popularity among Indonesia's youth.


In a bid to resonate with young voters, all three presidential candidates have embraced TikTok as a primary tool for outreach. Prabowo Subianto, once perceived as a stern military figure, adopts a softer image, showcasing his quirky dance moves and eliciting millions of views. His supporters rally behind him, sharing emotional videos to express their allegiance.


Rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo also leverage TikTok to engage with voters, employing real-time Q&A sessions and heartfelt encounters to connect on a personal level.


However, amidst the platform's popularity lies a darker underbelly. Experts warn of problematic content aimed at manipulating young voters, raising concerns about misinformation and manipulated imagery. Despite efforts to curate a safe environment, TikTok remains susceptible to the dissemination of misleading information.


Endah Triastuti, a communications researcher, highlights the prevalence of misinformation surrounding candidates, with many voters unaware of Prabowo's controversial past. Manipulated images and 'deepfake' videos further blur the lines of truth, complicating the electoral landscape.


TikTok asserts its commitment to combating misinformation, citing policies to remove harmful content and collaborate with fact-checkers. Nevertheless, the platform's influence continues to shape political discourse, offering candidates a dynamic medium for engagement.


As Indonesia navigates this new online frontier, the allure of TikTok persists as a catalyst for political participation among the youth. Yet, it remains a double-edged sword, presenting both opportunities and challenges in the quest for electoral transparency and accountability.


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