From Facebook to TikTok: S'pore politicians' latest social media battleground

First, Members of Parliament went on Facebook when many Singaporeans spent more time on the social networking site. In recent years, they took to Instagram. Today, they are also turning to TikTok. The Sunday Times explores the trend and allure of this social media platform.

TikTok, the latest platform for walking the virtual ground

PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM K_SHANMUGAM/TIKTOK, PROGRESSSINGAPOREPARTY/TIKTOK, THEHAMMERTOK/TIKTOK

In his first post on TikTok last week, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said he joined the video sharing network to have more conversations with people.

"I hope this will be a good platform for me to chat with some friends on different subjects," he said last Tuesday, adding that these subjects would include politics, history and book recommendations. Followers might also get a chance to see his two dogs - Millie, a labrador who is a retired police dog, and Samson, a golden retriever.

Within a day, the minister gained more than 8,600 followers on the platform.

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Trial and hopefully no error: MPs on their social media strategy

PHOTO: BAEY YAM KENG/TIKTOK

You name it, he's tried it. Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng has been on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Clubhouse, Kahoot and now TikTok too.

He has been more adventurous in trying out the various social media and online platforms than his three children, aged 17, 19 and 22, who are only on Instagram, he said.

"I've just been game to try and learn whenever there are new platforms, because each platform is different," said the fourth-term MP, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment and Transport.

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TikTok's rise bowl: Deeply engaged users, direct support for content creators

PHOTO: REUTERS

TikTok has grown by leaps and bounds since its parent company ByteDance arrived in Singapore in September 2018.

In just four years, it has gone from a small set-up staffed with a few people in a co-working space to brand new offices occupying several floors at One Raffles Quay in the Central Business District, with hundreds of employees.

Its usage rates echo the company's physical expansion, especially among the youth.

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Behind TikTok's rise: A constant battle against misinformation and harmful content

PHOTO: ST FILE

TikTok's growth in markets outside its parent company ByteDance's native China - where the app is known as Duoyin - has not been without its darker sides.

Last month, The New York Times reported that election misinformation was rife on the platform, including conspiracy theories implying that US President Joe Biden had stolen the 2020 election from his predecessor Donald Trump.

In March, The Straits Times found that anonymous TikTok accounts were putting out content critical of Singapore's decision to implement sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine - a sign of a possible hostile influence campaign.

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