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Workers' Party gets on TikTok, with first video on former chief Low Thia Khiang

The Workers' Party (WP) has started an account on video-sharing platform TikTok, and its first video on @thehammertok launched on Friday (Aug 5) stars former party chief Low Thia Khiang.

A 40-second video shows Mr Low in Sengkang, where he is helping out while Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim is on a fellowship in the United States. Mr Low, 65, is seen checking out the facilities of a playground in Anchorvale estate, rocking several pieces of equipment to make sure they are safely secured.

He also tests an elevated bar and uses a step-up machine.

Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera, who chairs the party's media team, said Mr Low was chosen to launch the party's TikTok videos as he has played a key role in "shaping [WP's] collective culture and ethos".

"While not currently an MP, Mr Low is a well established and respected political figure, having served in Parliament for almost three decades," he added.

Mr Low stepped down as WP's secretary-general in 2018 and did not contest the 2020 general election, when he retired from politics as the longest-serving opposition MP.

During the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Loh also fronted a WP video to persuade seniors to get vaccinated, speaking in Teochew and Mandarin.

WP's venture onto TikTok comes as the platform overtakes other social media like Facebook and Instagram to be the most-downloaded platform in Singapore over at least the last two years.

@thehammertok

Tagging along with Mr Low on an estate walk at #Anchorvale as he covers Jamus Lim. Leggo! #sengkang #anchorvale #wp #workersparty #firsttiktok

♬ Funny Song - Cavendish Music

App data company Sensor Tower said 1.4 million people in Singapore downloaded TikTok on Apple's App Store or Google Play in 2020, while another 1.1 million people did so in 2021. Figures this year are on track to surpass one million.

Facebook remains the second most downloaded social media platform, with 888,000 downloads in 2020 and 960,000 in 2021. It is followed by Instagram and Twitter.

WP's TikTok account will be managed by its media team, chaired by Mr Perera and Sengkang GRC MP Louis Chua, as well as its youth wing headed by Ms Nicole Seah.

The party said it will use the channel to provide the "dynamic, alternative and balanced political perspectives" that many of its younger supporters say they want to see on social media.

"In the spirit of the social media platform, it will also exclusively provide more light-hearted content... to provide a human look at the individuals behind its leadership team," WP said.

Mr Perera said it is inevitable TikTok would play a greater role in the political arena in the future.

Ms Seah said: "Social media will continue to be a battleground for hearts and minds, but we are also mindful that this should be complementary to traditional on-the-ground efforts instead of being the centre of political engagement."

Other political parties, such as the Singapore Democratic Party and the Progress Singapore Party, have in the last three years also joined TikTok.

The ruling People's Action Party does not have a party account, but at least 15 of its MPs, including Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, have accounts that they update regularly.

TikTok lets users stitch videos of up to 60 seconds.

Because of its algorithm, parties can get more exposure than Facebook or Instagram if they use it right, as posts show up on users' For You Page without the users having to follow the parties' accounts.

TIKTOKWorkers' Partysocial mediaPOLITICIANS