Are Political Parties Planning To Bet On TikTok For Election Advertisements?

Political campaigners and strategists are planning to boost their presence on TikTok for the upcoming elections to target the 200 million Indian users

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China-based ByteDance-owned video-sharing app TikTok has been growing on shaky grounds in India. Even with speculations of spreading unlawful content to sharing data with the Chinese government, TikTok has always been a popular social media app in India. The growing popularity now seems to have reached political parties as campaigners and strategists are planning to boost their presence and content on the platform for the upcoming elections.

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Citing sources from DesignBoxed, agency which manages campaigns for Congress, The Economic Times reported that the organization is seriously considering using TikTok as it has become an “addictive platform” for the Indian youth. According to the company, Instagram was the popular platform for ads during general elections but TikTok’s credibility has gone up right now. 

The social media company now has 200 million users in India. Political parties will be able to reach the vast user base by campaigning through TikTok.

Political Ads Banned On TikTok

While Indian parties are planning to bet on the China-based social media company, TikTok had banned political ads on its platform since October. According to several media reports, TikTok believes that the nature of paid political ads does not fit with TikTok’s platform experience. 

The video-sharing platform banned any kind of paid ads which promotes or opposes election candidates, political party or group or leader. It will also not allow ban which highlights issues at the federal, state or local level. Ads related to election and advocacy will also not be allowed.

Contrasting Stand On TikTok In India

TikTok has been pulled up by Indian authorities earlier over several issues. The social media app was banned by the Madras high court in April after the company was accused of sharing of pornographic content. However, the ban was lifted within 20 days. According to reports, TikTok had appealed against the ban and argued that it violated the right to free speech and expression. 

Following the interim ban, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had claimed that the social media company was sharing data of Indian users with the Chinese government. According to media reports, TikTok refuted the claims and said that data of Indian users are saved in the US and Singapore.

However, the company bounced back with its recently launched #EduTok Program in partnership with social enterprises such as Josh Talks and The/Nudge Foundation. The initiative is aimed at sharing educational content across the platform and also support the first time internet users. This move has helped the company gain higher trust and onboard more users.