Some of them are too young to vote. Some of them do not even live in the United States.
But for many, TikTok has become the platform of choice to not only discuss the presidential election, but also to speak for a candidate.
“This election is not just about politics, it’s about decency, and it’s about what we want in this country, and it’s so much bigger than traditional politics. “Teenagers are aware that our rights come from politics for better or worse,” said Aidan Kohn-Murphy, 16, a TikTok user from Washington, DC. I think people younger than 1
In the app, a number of users’ profile pictures have recently been changed to a picture of the words “Gen Z for Biden”, sandwiched between a rainbow and a small red heart – the logo of a newly formed group speaking for the election of Joe Biden called “TikTok for Biden . ” The group, formed by Aidan and other content creators Brendan Radecki, 18, of Oklahoma, consists of about 350 TikTok creators and stars with a collective following of approx. 150 million, according to the founders, who say they are raising money, phone banking and holding events to help elect Biden in November.
“Your age does not prevent you from being involved in what is going on today and trying to get other people involved in what is going on today. “Just because you can not vote yet does not mean you should not be involved,” said Julia Juarez, 16, of Tennessee, who is a member of the TikTok for Biden leadership team.
While some of those who create content for the TikTok for Biden account are too young to vote, the group – which was formed after the first presidential debate on September 29, but began publishing after the vice president’s debate on October 7. – has had rapid growth in this short time and has already gathered more than 729,000 followers.
Politics has always been a topic of discussion on TikTok, but it has exploded in popularity as election day approaches. Political hashtags garner millions of views – but hashtags that support both presidential candidates dwarf most others with billions of views. The hashtag # Biden2020 has more than 3.5 billion views, while the hashtag # Trump2020 has more than 12.6 billion views. Neither the Trump campaign nor the Biden campaign has an official TikTok account.
“I learned so much from TikTok and I feel like it’s just a really good place for younger people to get a really good range of how people stand and why they stand for specific things,” said Gilbert Dabady, 15, from Massachusetts, a member of “TikTok for Biden.”
Members of the management of “TikTok for Biden” who spoke to NBC News said that the group’s mission is to raise funds for the Biden campaign, candidates for the vote and organizations such as Black Lives Matter, in addition to speaking for young people, who are entitled to vote for both registrations (in states where the deadline has not yet passed) and cast their vote on Biden. They also plan to hold telephone banking events.
While “TikTok for Biden” is not the only political account on the platform, the account’s rapidly growing support may reflect the attitudes of younger millennials and Gen Z (generally covering those born from 1997 to the early 2010s) as exemplified. in the latest poll data.
A national online NBC News / Quibi poll of millennial and generation Z voters, conducted after the first presidential debate and after Trump tested positive for coronavirus, showed that 69 percent of Gen Z voters and 54 percent of millennia had a negative impression of the president.
The vote also showed that Gen Z voters prefer Democratic candidate Biden over Trump by more than 40 points, 64 percent to 22 percent, while thousands of voters back Biden with 14 points, 50 percent to 36 percent.
Historically, younger voters have had lower turnout, but the midterm elections in 2018 marked a modern high for youth turnout, according to Pew Research.
Among young people, Biden’s reception has generally been lukewarm, highlighted by movements such as “Settle for Biden.” As the election got closer, members of “TikTok for Biden” said they felt it was important to get Gen Z not only excited about Biden, but also his platform.
“We get these comments on our account and say, ‘Are you pushing us to support Biden or settle for him?’ That’s a little ridiculous for me. “Even though Biden is not our dream candidate, we know he is so much better than Trump,” said Aidan. “We have to do everything we can to get him elected.”
There are also similar accounts that support the president. An account called “Teens for Trump” has an impact of just over 6,200. A request for an interview sent to the NBC News account was not returned.
These are far from the only accounts that speak for the presidential candidates. Political content houses, such as the Conservative hype house that has 1.5 million supporters, and the Democratic hype house that has just over 192,000 supporters, (and other variations of these accounts such as “the Republican hype house” or “the liberal hype house”) are collaborative accounts where creators not only advocate for candidates but also fact-check, send news updates and act as social experts for Gen Z, according to The New York Times.
Both sides of the aisle share a mission to get Gen Z educated and involved in politics.
“It’s kind of our mission to get Gen Z more involved because I think people are not aware of how much politics plays a role in your daily life and every decision you make. It has evolved around politics in a way, ”Liam Rafizadeh, 20, head of The Republican Hype House, told NBC News in a recent interview.
Rafizadeh added that while TikTok is meant to pique people’s interests with fun content, he believes the platform should not be anyone’s primary source of information.
“I would not say get your news from TikTok, get your news from Twitter,” he said. “Our goal is for people to do their own research … I would never be like, ‘I saw this on TikTok. That’s true.’ Everyone can have a TikTok. “
The members of “TikTok for Biden” said, for them, TikTok includes the age group they most hope to reach, and is the best place for them to speak to choose Biden.
“It’s so important to make political content and watch political content because it really gets you educated about what’s going on in the world,” said Brooklynne Webb, 16, a TikTok star who is a member of “TikTok for Biden, “despite living in Victoria, British Columbia.
Brooklynne said it was important for her to join the group and speak for Biden because of the impact the United States has on the rest of the world, especially when it comes to issues such as climate change.
In addition to climate change, members of “TikTok for Biden” said the topics most important to them include health care, systemic inequalities and racism, and LGBTQ issues.
While the members of “TikTok for Biden” say that their primary goal is to help the former vice president get elected, regardless of the outcome of the election, they hope to be able to show the power of the youth.
“We are here to show adults and prove to ourselves that young people, even if they can not vote, and even if they are young and they can vote, they can be in politics and they can make a serious difference.” Said Aidan.