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The Role of TikTok and Instagram in Pakistani Elections



Social Media

In the realm of digital communication, social media platforms have become pivotal in shaping public discourse and political campaigning. Pakistan, with its rapidly growing internet penetration and smartphone usage, has seen TikTok and Instagram emerge as powerful tools in electoral politics. This article delves into how these platforms are utilized in Pakistani elections to influence voters and shape campaign strategies.

The Growth of Social Media in Pakistan

With over 76 million internet users, Pakistan’s social media landscape has seen exponential growth, particularly among platforms like TikTok and Instagram. These platforms command the attention of the youth, with a significant percentage of users aged between 18 and 24 years. TikTok, known for its short, engaging video content, resonates with the younger demographic that prefers quick and entertaining insights into the political realm. Instagram, with its mix of photos, videos, and stories, appeals to a slightly older demographic that values detailed narratives and direct engagement with political figures.

Impact of TikTok on Political Campaigns

TikTok has revolutionized political campaigning in Pakistan by offering a direct and highly engaging way to reach and mobilize young voters. Politicians and political parties create viral content that often includes catchy tunes and slogans, skits, and direct appeals, all tailored to the short-video format that dominates the platform.

  • Example: During the 2023 general elections, several prominent politicians used TikTok to break down their policy positions into simple, digestible videos, significantly increasing their reach and engagement among first-time voters.

The platform’s algorithm further assists in spreading political content quickly, sometimes pushing videos to viral status, thereby amplifying political messages exponentially within hours.


Role of Instagram in Political Engagement

Instagram serves as a more structured platform compared to TikTok, with politicians using it to build a more detailed and polished image. Features like Instagram Stories and Live videos are used to broadcast real-time campaign events and rallies, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the personalities behind the politics.

  • Case Study: A leading candidate in the 2023 elections regularly used Instagram Live to answer questions directly from voters, an approach that helped humanize the candidate and strengthen voter trust.

Instagram’s impact is profound in how it facilitates a more sustained engagement with content, allowing for longer discussions and detailed presentations of political platforms and issues.

Comparative Analysis

While both TikTok and Instagram are influential, they serve different electoral purposes and reach different demographic groups. TikTok is more effective for quick, widespread message dissemination, particularly useful in viral campaigning. In contrast, Instagram provides a platform for deeper engagement and can be particularly effective in urban areas where internet connectivity is more reliable and users spend more time online.

Challenges and Concerns

Despite their benefits, these platforms also pose significant challenges. Misinformation and fake news can spread just as rapidly as legitimate information, potentially influencing voter perceptions and behavior based on falsehoods. Moreover, political manipulation through these platforms can exacerbate tensions during sensitive times such as elections.


The Pakistani government and regulatory bodies face the tough challenge of balancing the need for open communication with the imperative to prevent abuse of these powerful digital tools.


TikTok and Instagram have undeniably transformed the landscape of political campaigning in Pakistan. As these platforms continue to grow, their influence on the electoral process is expected to increase, highlighting the need for robust mechanisms to harness their potential while mitigating risks. As Pakistan moves forward, the role of social media in elections will undoubtedly be a critical area for candidates, voters, and regulators alike.

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