TikTok: A Way to Gen-Z’s Ballot?
State of the Union: Will Vivek Ramaswamy’s inauguration to TikTok play a part in his 2024 campaign?
Social media has become a sort of necessary evil in today’s society. Many companies and individuals have become hyper-dependent on it for pushing and selling their products, but the dangers of screen addiction, the exposure to harmful content, and the risk of data harvesting often outweigh the benefits of various social media platforms. This is particularly evident with TikTok, the video-sharing platform that has taken the online world by storm over the past few years.
It isn’t rare to see politicians pop up on TikTok, trying to reach a younger demographic. After all, nearly 50 percent of TikTok users are under the age of 30. The latest example: GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy’s decision to make a TikTok account has caused a stir among both his supporters and enemies. Initially, on the campaign trail, his opinion of TikTok was harsh--he went so far as to call it “digital fentanyl.” He was also wary of the threat the Chinese app posed to the data of those using it. However, after meeting and dining with the infamous media personality and boxer Jake Paul, Ramaswamy was convinced to become one of the hundreds of millions of worldwide TikTok users:
According to Axios, a GOP strategist suggested that Ramaswamy’s decision to join TikTok may serve as a catalyst in shifting the Republican attitude towards TikTok more generally: “If influential conservatives start coming out more forcefully against a ban and even start using the platform, the political will among Republicans to ban it will disappear.”
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This would not be good. Banning TikTok in America would not only alleviate national security concerns, but would also likely help the mental health epidemic fostered by the addictive app.
You can still see Ramaswamy’s point. After officially announcing his decision to join TikTok, he told his supporters at an event in Iowa that, “Sixty—six-zero—percent of Gen-Z says that they would sooner give up their right to vote than to give up their access to TikTok.”
Overall, this issue will not be detrimental to his campaign or to his image in the court of public opinion, but it does raise questions regarding the authenticity of Ramaswamy’s political platform. TikTok’s threat to American mental health and security is a key issue for many voters; Ramaswamy must remain steadfast on other important topics if he wants to keep his supporters behind him.