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Indonesia’s presidential hopefuls on TikTok to woo Gen Zs, millennials


Indonesia’s presidential election is due 14 February and candidates are going all out to win over voters on this nation of 274 million. With millennials and Gen Z voters making up 56.5% of the voters campaigning is usually executed on social media. One platform specifically has emerged as key, TikTok.

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JAKARTA — Indonesia’s presidential hopefuls are pulling out all stops to win over voters on social media forward of the Feb. 14 election.

Within the nation of 274 million, millennials and Gen Z voters make up 56.5% of the voters — and campaigning on social media is heating up.

One platform specifically has emerged as a key battleground: TikTok.

“In 2019, it was the Instagram election. This time it is the TikTok election,” says Aryo Seno Bagaskoro, a younger spokesperson for the presidential marketing campaign of Ganjar Pranowo, the previous governor of Central Java.

With 125 million month-to-month lively customers, Indonesia is TikTok’s second largest market, making the platform key for Indonesians making an attempt to get information and updates concerning the election.

All three candidates have taken observe and are churning out youth-oriented content material on TikTok, with Protection Minister Prabowo Subianto dancing for the crowds, the previous governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan courting Ok-pop followers, and former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo selling penguin-related posts.

For Prabowo, the clear frontrunner who’s polling within the mid-40s, the messaging on TikTok suits into the broader “gemoy,” or cute, picture of his presidential marketing campaign.

The strategy is markedly completely different from the macho picture adopted by 72-year-old throughout his earlier runs for the presidency in 2014 and 2019.

Reasonably than movies of him arriving at rallies on the again of stallions and rousing crowds with nationalist speeches, the preferred content material on TikTok has portrayed him as having a delicate — even weak — aspect.

Some of the common marketing campaign posts on TikTok, with 49 million views, appeared to point out Prabowo on the verge of tears after powerful questioning within the second presidential debate. Many supporters of Prabowo, typically younger girls, posted movies of themselves weeping in solidarity and alleging that Prabowo was a sufferer of bias.

Anies’ signature has been stay broadcasts on TikTok dubbed regionally as “Desak Anies,” or “Interrogate Anies.”

Polling within the mid-twenties, he’s operating neck-and-neck with Ganjar, and cultivating followers who ship questions on to him. Matters fluctuate from his political program to recommendation on first dates.

From Ok-pop to ‘Prime Gun’

Anies has discovered surprising reputation amongst Ok-pop followers, primarily younger girls, belying his previous associations with conservative Islam.

One among his supporters is a 22-year-old feminine pupil who posts on social media platform X about Anies and his marketing campaign utilizing Korean hangul captions. A lot of the footage posted is taken from TikTok.

“He’s the proper match for Ok-popification,” the proprietor of the account informed CNBC, asking to not be named for concern of backlash.

“When he did stay TikTok, the background is like those utilized by Ok-pop idols, perhaps it was the curtain.”

The Anies marketing campaign and its official supporter teams have taken observe, often sending her pictures or movies they’d like her to advertise.

The Ganjar marketing campaign has gimmicks of its personal too, resembling “Prime Gun”-style jackets and penguin symbols. However, in response to his marketing campaign crew, they’re most keen on movies of him interacting naturally with voters on the bottom to showcase his humble roots.

“TikTok has distinctive traits. The algorithm values a lot the authenticity and the originality of the movies,” says Karaniya Dharmasaputra, deputy for media channels on the Ganjar marketing campaign crew. “On TikTok we desire an unpolished type of video. Instagram, I believe values extra the polished content material.”

Older politicians have needed to embark on a crash course for TikTok campaigning.

This image taken on January 10, 2024 exhibits a person recording a marketing campaign video for social media for use by Ukon Furkon Sukanda, a legislative candidate of the Indonesian Democratic Celebration of Wrestle (PDI-P), in Tangerang, Banten province.

Bay Ismoyo | Afp | Getty Photos

Ganjar’s operating mate, Mahfud MD has taken a lead position right here, copying Anies’ signature stay broadcasts. However introducing the 66-year-old minister and former chief justice of the constitutional court docket to the platform was difficult at first.

“Once we first inspired Pak Mahfud to do a livestream, it was a bit awkward to be very sincere,” stated Karaniya. “However he tailored in a short time.”

Pretend information fears

With the ability of TikTok changing into clear, worries about its potential for misuse have additionally grown.

Misinformation has been a significant concern on social media in previous Indonesian elections, with outright lies spreading broadly boosted by bots and “buzzers,” individuals employed to churn out and promote propaganda by one group or one other.

TikTok is now making an attempt to restrict not solely the unfold of misinformation, but in addition its position as a platform for political messages.

Paid political promoting or fundraising by politicians and political events is just not allowed on the social media platform. The corporate has additionally cast partnerships with authorities our bodies, native NGOs, and newswire company Agence-France Presse to fight misinformation.

“The quick video format used on TikTok means a lot of the misinformation we see circulating on the platform consists of edited clips or footage shared out of context with a deceptive or false caption,” stated a consultant for AFP.

Some examples embrace clips doctored to make them seem like crowds at a Prabowo rally — who had been in truth his supporters — had been cheering on his opponents, one claiming that Anies had transformed to Christianity, and one other of a number one journalist endorsing Prabowo.

In keeping with Mafindo, one of many NGOs working with TikTok, between January and November final 12 months, simply 7.4% of the hoaxes they recorded and helped debunk had been on TikTok.

“It is on YouTube and Fb that we discovered essentially the most disinformation, however I believe TikTok is catching up. That means quite a lot of hoaxes at the moment are occurring on TikTok,” stated Septiaji Nugroho, chairperson of Mafindo.

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