TikTok Triumph?


President Trump held his first rally in months on Saturday night.  During the week, the President said that a million people had been trying to get tickets to the rally.  Since the event, the media has been intensely focused on the numbers of the crowd inside the arena.  Is the social media app TikTok really to blame for this?

TikTok Background

TikTok, an app owned by China, has over 800 million users around the world.  It consists of short videos that vary widely in category, from dances to clips of random stuff.  49% of American teenagers use the app.  People typically spend about 45 minutes a day watching Tiktoks.  It is also banned by the United States Army as it is viewed as a security threat.  


Link: President Trump explaining the rally attendance

Impact on the Rally

The media continues to discuss how TikTok impacted the rally.  A campaign of sorts, led by a 51 year old woman, set out to claim tickets to the rally and then not show up.  The amount of tickets claimed caused the number of expected people to become inflated.  The only thing is, this didn’t actually impact rally attendance according to Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager.  In an official statement on the Trump website he said, “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”  This means that tickets are not required to get into the event, making the TikTok effort pretty ineffective.  There have also been reports of protesters blocking entrances to the venue.  Also, the pandemic could be a reason why the arena was not full.  


While the venue attendance may have been somewhat low, television and streaming viewership was high.  Fox News reached 7.7 million viewers during the event.  Another 4 million viewers watched the event on other streaming services.  Over 11 million people were able to hear what President Trump had to say on Saturday night.  


President Trump’s message was heard by millions of people on Saturday night.  The media has focused heavily on the physical attendance numbers and gives some credit to TikTok users for such a low turnout.  Anyone who has ever attended a rally can confirm that tickets do not get scanned at the door, making the TikTok effort pretty ineffective.  


Concha, Joe. “Trump Rally Delivers Saturday-Record 7.7 Million Viewers on Fox News.” TheHill, The Hill, 22 June 2020, thehill.com/homenews/media/503908-trump-rally-delivers-saturday-record-77-million-viewers-on-fox-news. 

Cox, Matthew. “Army Follows Pentagon Guidance, Bans Chinese-Owned TikTok App.” Military.com, 30 Dec. 2019, www.military.com/daily-news/2019/12/30/army-follows-pentagon-guidance-bans-chinese-owned-tiktok-app.html.

Gunel, Sinem. “12 Facts You Should Know About TikTok.” Medium, Better Marketing, 6 Feb. 2020, medium.com/better-marketing/12-facts-you-should-know-about-tiktok-908f4b8495b.

Iqbal, Monsoor. “TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2020).” Business of Apps, 16 June 2020, www.businessofapps.com/data/tik-tok-statistics/.

Moore, Mark. “Trump Campaign Manager Shares Photos of Protesters Blocking Entry to Tulsa Rally.” New York Post, New York Post, 21 June 2020, nypost.com/2020/06/21/trump-campaign-manager-shares-photos-of-blocked-entry-to-tulsa-rally/.

O’Sullivan, Donie. “Trump Trolled by TikTok in Tulsa.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 June 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/06/21/politics/tiktok-trump-tulsa-rally/index.html.Parscale, Brad. “Trump Campaign Statement on Bogus Claims of Ticket Hacking.” Donald J. Trump for President, 21 June 2020, www.donaldjtrump.com/media/trump-campaign-statement-on-bogus-claims-of-ticket-hacking.

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