Mar 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DNC gets on TikTok to test impact on young voters

Photo illustration: Olivier Douliery via AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee joined TikTok earlier this month, hoping to engage more with younger voters and test the benefits of the platform's viral videos for future campaigns, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: TikTok is the central place for Gen Z to get news, as Axios has reported. The Democrats are the first of the two national parties to join. It's already become the Democrats' highest-performing social platform for video views.

By the numbers: DNC TikTok videos have amassed over 2 million views in just over one week, and the party currently has nearly 25,000 followers.

  • The growth potential is huge: TikTok has over 1 billion active monthly users.

The big picture: This will be the first midterm cycle in the TikTok era — it launched in China in 2016 but didn't become popular in the U.S. until the fall of 2018.

  • The now-widespread app has become so important in Democratic politics, the White House held a briefing specifically for TikTok influencers on March 11 to teach them how to share accurate information about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Democrats plan to use footage of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in their videos, as well as other Democratic figures, to share more about what their party is accomplishing in Washington, Axios is told.

For example, one recent video features a clip of the president discussing infrastructure and taking a shot at Republicans who voted against it but are taking credit for its benefits in their districts and states.

  • DNC staffers told Axios they'll use their lessons to influence the TikTok strategies of Democratic campaign beyond the midterms.

The backdrop: In mid-2020, members of the Trump administration raised concerns the Chinese government could obtain TikTok user data or harness the platform to influence U.S. political sentiment.

  • But as Axios' Dan Primack has reported, the company is in advanced talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to store all of its U.S. user information with Oracle.
  • The platform's Chinese owner, ByteDance, wouldn't be able to access it.
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