Photo by Ms Jane Campbell via Shutterstock

Social media is one of the twenty-first century’s most useful tools, but at the same time it’s a “deadly weapon.” The 2020 59th quadrennial presidential election is arguably one of the most complicated U.S. presidential elections in history, but how has social media affected young voters?

Social Media & Voters

For the last 10 years, the main social media platforms were Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The most recent social media app, TikTok, was introduced in 2019.

According to Pew Research Center, 22% to 25% of voters that have social media have used it to let others know their personal political views. In general, Democrats tend to voice their opinions on social media at around 25%, while Republicans weigh in at about 21%. These statistics were taken from the 2012 United States presidential election between Democratic candidate Barack Obama, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. 

TikTok’s Political Influence

On a technical level, TikTok’s algorithm decides which videos get shared on the “For You” (a subsection of TikTok’s trending videos) page by measuring which videos get higher likes, comments and shares. What content is more amusing that stirs the pot? Trump supporters hating the left and the left hating the right. All of this leads to mini-wars between the two parties resulting in the rapid dissemination of political content.

In general, there are more “liberal-leaning” voters under twenty-five on social media. TikTok recently spent more than $300,000 on their “Voting Campaign”, claiming to have had over 21,000 new voters under the age of 21. This was just on the platform itself, not counting the influencers themselves making an impact.

Independent Influencers

David Dobrick, 24, is one of YouTube’s biggest vloggers, with over 60 million followers across all social media platforms. David partnered with “Headcount”, a nonprofit voting organization to bring voting awareness to social media. Dobrick set up a giveaway for the people who voted to have a chance at winning one of five Teslas. Some people found this ironic and unethical since Dobrick himself isn’t a registered voter. Nevertheless, Dobrick set records by getting over 100,000 people to vote within 24 hours of the campaign’s launch.

The Stress Of Voicing Your Views

Assume that nowadays almost anything can be found out about almost anyone. This happened to be true for social media influencer, Emma Chamberlain 19, when Chamberlain’s Twitter account was deactivated on Nov. 7. Fans are saying this is due to the fact that rumors came out that Chamberlain was a registered Republican. Chamberlain has not addressed this yet, but situations like this can take a toll on an influencer’s social life. It can even ruin someone’s career, all because they don’t hold the same views as others. 

The Future Of Social Media And Voting

Social media will always be an influential tool of persuading young voters to vote. While social media is amazing and can change people’s lives, the goal is to remember to always be careful what you say, as well as making sure you have looked at both sides of an argument.

Written ByConnor McCory

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