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TikTok’s Role in the Upcoming General Election: A Closer Look

This might be the first TikTok general election, but it probably won’t be the first election decided by it for one simple reason: the video app’s British users are already likely to vote Labour.

“The problem is that almost everyone on TikTok is already on our side,” said one Labour campaign source. “We need to reach swing voters.”

TikTok’s relatively youthful user base and Labour’s enormous poll lead among younger voters has given the app a unique role in this election. Tens of millions of Britons consume election content on the platform, making it a hotspot for memes, viral videos, and passionate political discourse. All political parties feel compelled to engage with it.

Yet, within Labour, TikTok is seen as an unreliable medium for conveying Keir Starmer’s core messages on economic or education policy to “Whitby Women” and other key groups of undecided voters in marginal constituencies.

Research by Deltapoll indicates that even being on TikTok suggests a likelihood of voting Labour. TikTok users are 31% more likely to support Keir Starmer’s party than non-users of the same age and background.

The Cultural Power of TikTok

TikTok is culturally influential in the UK, with 45% of British internet users spending an average of 28 minutes a day on the app, according to Ofcom. Its real-world impact is evident in the popularity of TikTok-viral restaurants and shops. While the stereotypical user is Gen Z, much of TikTok’s recent growth is from users in their 30s.

Mike Joslin, a digital campaign veteran, notes that TikTok has become “essentially television,” with users endlessly scrolling through videos without necessarily engaging. He suggests that TikTok is more effective for mobilizing voters rather than persuading undecided ones.

Challenges with TikTok’s Algorithm

One of the biggest challenges is TikTok’s opaque recommendation algorithm, making it difficult for political activists and journalists to monitor. Unlike older social networks like Facebook, which rely on following individuals and sharing content, TikTok’s algorithm curates a personalized stream of videos for each user.

This unpredictability can hinder political campaigns. For instance, a member of the public with no following might create a viral political video that outperforms a carefully crafted post from an official account.

Labour’s TikTok Strategy

Labour’s TikTok strategy aims to get younger people to download videos and share them in family WhatsApp groups. This off-platform sharing can help TikTok content reach swing voters. “The strategy is not to target young people – but the off-platform sharing it gets you with friends and family,” said a Labour campaigner.


TikTok’s influence on the upcoming general election is significant, though not decisive. While it excels in mobilizing younger voters, its impact on undecided voters remains uncertain. The app’s cultural power and unique algorithm present both opportunities and challenges for political campaigns.

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