Young people are using TikTok to talk about the election – but only one party is posting there

  • By ITV News Trainee Fred Dimbleby

If you had to put a bet on which political party was posting videos ahead of the General Election on the newest social media platform mostly inhabited by younger people, TikTok, it is unlikely you would put your money on the Brexit Party.

But they are the only major party to use the video-sharing platform and have posted 82 videos on the platform, ranging from emoji-filled attacks on Remainer MPs to political highlights videos reaching out to young people.

In fact, while Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems all have account names on TikTok, none are posting on the platform.

A page called @bmsgreenparty is posting videos supporting the Green Party, but it is not clear if this is a party official account.

It’s an interesting mix of political worlds between TikTok, a site mostly inhabited by younger people, and the Brexit Party, a group mostly supported by older voter groups.

And lots of young teens are posting there. One has even set up an account called @backborisjohnson that has over 5000 likes.

The account’s videos feature many of the TikTok challenges, commonly seen on the platform, but with a political pro-Tory twist.

Other accounts support the Labour Party.

Interestingly, these posts are not exclusively to the left of the political spectrum, and a lot of young people are sharing political content on TikTok that supports more right-wing parties.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, bans political ads on its platform but users can post political content.

The parties are clearly thinking about posting on the site and its why they’ve signed up accounts, so no one else can hijack their names.

But at the moment, TikTok is mostly a grassroots social media platform when it comes to politics.

Its focus on short meme-based videos may worry the parties, who tend to want more control over their social media content.

As parties become less nervous about the platform, however, this is bound to change and we may see more groups reaching out to younger voters there.

It won’t be a game-changer is this election, but perhaps it is a sign of things to come.