TikTok has become an important platform for candidates to try to reach voters ahead of the 2022 US midterm elections. According to a new report from the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund (ASD at GMF), 34% of Democratic candidates in Senate, House, gubernatorial, and secretary of state races have TikTok accounts, and 12% of Republican candidates in these races have accounts on the platform. And that raises some serious national security concerns.

Lindsay Gorman, senior fellow for emerging technologies at ASD at GMF and a former White House advisor, and Nash Miller tracked and catalogued 227 TikTok accounts created and used by US major party candidates in Senate, House, governor, and secretary of state races this November. They found:

  • Almost 30% of major party candidates in Senate races have a TikTok account; one-fifth of all major party House candidates have an account on the platform; 47% of candidates for governor have a TikTok; and 26% of secretary of state candidates have an account.
  • Eight out of the ten candidate TikTok accounts with the most followers are Democrats, but Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, tops the charts with more than 1.2 million followers.
  • TikTok has only verified 40 of the studied accounts, most of whom are political incumbents or previously held office.

As candidates and voters turn more to TikTok in the coming years, the US government must resolve the issues surrounding TikTok’s Chinese ownership structure before the Chinese government tries to use the app to influence American voters, Lindsay and Nash write.

Read Not Just Dance Videos: How Candidates are Using TikTok in the US Midterms here: https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/candidates-tiktok-us-midterm-elections-2022/

Reporters can contact Kayla Goodson at press@securingdemocracy.org to request an interview.