Political discourse has seen a rise of great diversity since the advent of social media a little over a decade ago. Since then, society engages with politics through various mediums. Computational social scientists have studied the most prominent mediums extensively, namely Twitter and Facebook. In this project, we seek to gain insight into the most recent viral social media, TikTok. Past work on the use of TikTok in a political context is scarce. To address this gap, we plan on releasing a dataset of U.S. politics and election-related TikTok posts (which include text, video, sound, and other engagement metrics). We collect TikTok posts using
hashtags and keyword-related searches. From this dataset, we would like to better understand the landscape of political communication on TikTok, which includes the profiles of active TikTok users for political purposes, and the content of the discussion during the election. Secondly, we would like to examine the interaction (i.e., following, mentioning, and duetting) and identify the
different communities among TikTok users through network analysis. We hope the dataset will empower journalists, computational social scientists, and other academic researchers in their work to understand the role of new social media platforms in the political world.
PhD Candidate, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University
PhD Student, University of Southern California