In Italian elections, politicians use TikTok to search for votes

Italian politicians are hunting undecided voters.

During the summer, when polls showed most undecided people were under 30, party elders took it to the next level: TikTok.

This month, 85-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, a four-time Italian prime minister, updated the social media platform, which is mostly popular among young people, explaining why he is there at his age. mine.

“On this platform, you are over five million, and 60% of you are under 30. I’m a bit jealous,” said Mr. Berlusconi, raising and lowering his voice for dramatic effect. “We’ll talk about your future.”

Video had 9.6 million views, causing some users to raise an eyebrow.

“You’re not so stupid that just one video on TikTok is enough to vote for you” Emma Galeotti says, a young TikTok content creator. “You send the message that we young people are malleable and pushy.”

But Mr Berlusconi’s media team did not give up. His profile is littered with a mix of snapshots from television appearances and classic Berlusconi jokes, as well as political messages recorded in his studio, where he is seen wearing a chic blue suit – and often a tie.

Viewers have noticed his cult appearance.

“What’s your foundation?” one person asked. “The cream is too orange, more natural tones are better,” wrote another.

“That bounce was funny or grotesque, but being on TikTok allows him to be the center of attention,” said Annalisa Ferretti, coordinator of the social media division at Italian advocacy group FB & Associati. center of the electoral debate. according to the file of Mr. Berlusconi passed 3.2 million in three weeks.

“The problem is this generation rejects political class as a whole,” she said, adding that social media popularity does not directly translate into votes.

Other politicians have chosen different paths. Matteo Salvini, 49, of the far-right League party, who is available on TikTok for years and has 635,600 followers, primarily using the platform as a mouthpiece for his backbone topics – security and immigration.

Giorgia Meloni, 45, leader of the Brotherhood of Italy and possibly the next prime minister, doesn’t seem to be going well on TikTok, despite her successful election campaign. She has 197,700 followers.

College students seem to like the leader of the Action Center Party, Carlo Calendar, 49, who posts short political messages, answers questions received on the platform and discusses books, Ferretti said. But he only has about 24,300 followers.

Middle left Democratic Party is the only party that offers multiple voices on TikTok. They post topical videos with topics discussed by politicians who are emblematic of those issues, like Alessandro Zan48, for the civil rights fight. Enrico Letta, 56, a party leader, recently encouraged users to vote – for whomever they like. “Other people shouldn’t decide for your future,” he says.

Despite the efforts of politicians to reach different audiences, abstentions still seem to be the main threat to Italian parties and democracy.

“They used to say, ‘The squares are full and the ballot boxes are empty. “Now, social media is more flooded and the ballot boxes are empty.”

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