At an Indonesian presidential marketing campaign occasion, 22-year-old voter Irene Putri Aisyah was busy importing the whole lot she noticed – from cute dances to cooking demonstrations – to quick video app TikTok.
To court docket younger voters like Irene, all three candidates within the Feb. 14 race to steer Indonesia have gravitated towards TikTok, which has 125 million customers within the nation, second solely to the US.
However specialists say the platform can be flooded with problematic content material that makes an attempt to govern younger voters, who make up over half of about 205 million registered voters within the nation.
On this new on-line battleground, Prabowo Subianto, a once-feared army man, has rebranded himself as a cuddly statesman. Movies of his awkward dance strikes, harking back to native martial arts, have gotten tens of millions of views, inspiring others to imitate him.
When the frontrunner confronted stinging barbs from rivals in a televised debate, ladies supporters shared movies of themselves crying for Prabowo.
Rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo have additionally ramped up their presence on the app, answering questions in real-time throughout livestreamed periods or sharing movies of heartfelt encounters with voters.
“TikTok is probably the most interesting app for first-time voters, so it does have a giant affect as a platform to marketing campaign and propagate election-related data,” mentioned Anita Wahid, a researcher who has labored with TikTok on points associated to on-line belief and security.
In the course of the marketing campaign interval, TikTok turned Indonesians’ second-most used supply of data on politics, after tv, in accordance with a January survey by pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia.
“We are able to simply discover details about Prabowo on TikTok,” voter Irene mentioned.
However specialists have flagged a few of this data could also be incorrect.
Endah Triastuti, a communications researcher on the College of Indonesia, says that due to such content material, many younger voters is probably not conscious that Prabowo has been compelled to disclaim allegations of human rights abuses throughout his time as particular forces commander.
Manipulated photos and ‘deepfake’ movies of the candidates have additionally circulated extensively.
TikTok says on its web site its coverage is to take away “dangerous misinformation” and work with fact-checkers to flag or debunk it. Political advertisements and fundraising are additionally banned on the platform.
“We prioritize defending the integrity of elections on our platform in order that our group can proceed to take pleasure in artistic and entertaining TikTok experiences,” a TikTok spokesperson mentioned in an e-mail.
Younger voters desire to see candidates create enjoyable content material, which explains the app’s enduring enchantment and success on this election, mentioned researcher Anita Wahid.
“It is a new battle.”
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)