TikTok teaches teens

Typical election campaigning has been joined this year by electioneering on the popular app, TikTok.

TikTok is the newest social media platform to enjoy mass uptake. It allows users to share short videos on a wide range of topics.

While some of the app’s users are not old enough to vote – TikTok limits its users to those over the age of 13 – this has not stopped them from using the platform as a discussion space for important issues, such as climate change, sexism and COVID-19, through short and engaging videos.

TikTok creator, Toby Rozario, started his account during the COVID-19 pandemic with regular updates on case numbers, but he now has over 100,000 followers who watch his humorous political skits.

Rozario believes the amount of misinformation on TikTok could confuse young people, but he says, it’s a “fun way to learn about politics” as long as it’s from the “right creators”.

While TikTok is popular with younger generations, it’s unclear whether what they see there will influence how they vote. A Roy Morgan study published in June 2020 showed the demographic of TikTok users being dominated by Gen Alpha (born after 2005) and Gen Z (born 1991-2005).


In the competitive context of an election, every like, comment and share could be a potential vote for candidates, with recent polls showing the closeness between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese.

According to Rozario: “With the amount of political content flying about, it absolutely could make a difference as TikToks go viral these days and can have a massive impact on the voters and their choices.”

Politicians including Scott Morrison (58.2K followers) and Jacquie Lambie (16.8K followers) have taken to TikTok to share new aspects of their lives not shown on typical social media and other election campaigning avenues.

According to the 2021 Digital News Report published by the University of Canberra, more than half of Generation Z is using social media as their main source of news.

Under TikTok’s branded content policy, TikTok prohibits the “referencing, or opposing a candidate for public office, current or former political leader, political party, or political organization”.

“They must not contain content that advocates a stance (for or against) on a local, state, or federal issue of public importance to influence a political outcome.”

However, this has not stopped users creating accounts in support of political parties and their leaders, including Anthony Albanese and the Greens.

While politicians cannot promote themselves, these short videos allow electors to see a whole new side to politicians, which could ultimately boost or sink their popularity.