Silvio Berlusconi's TikTok profile is brimming with jokes, clips from TV appearances and videos shot in a studio.
Italian politicians are on a virtual hunt for undecided voters. Over the summer, as polls suggested that most of those who had not yet picked a side were under 30, party elders took it to the next level: TikTok. Silvio Berlusconi, 85, who served four times as Italy's prime minister, landed on the social media platform that is mostly popular among the young, explaining why he was there at his age. You guys are over five million and 60 percent of them are less than 30 on this platform. I am a bit envious, Mr. Berlusconi said, raising and lowering his voice for dramatic effect. Berlusconi's communications team did not give up. His profile is brimming with a mix of snaps from his TV appearances and classic Berlusconi jokes, as well as political messages recorded in his studio, where he is seen wearing classy blue suits and often ties. The cultivated appearance has been taken notice by the viewers. Another wrote that the cream is too orange, more natural tones are better. The rebound was comic or grotesque, but being on TikTok allowed him to be central to the electoral debate, said Annalisa Ferretti, coordinator of the social media division at Italian advocacy group FB Associati, who noted that the number of people following Mr. Berlusconi's profile had surpassed 3.2 million in three weeks. She said that this generation rejects the political class because of the fact that such social media popularity did not directly translate into votes.
Giorgia Meloni, 45, the leader of Brothers of Italy and possibly the next prime minister, does not seem to be doing as well on TikTok despite her successful electoral campaign. She has 197,700 followers. The university students seem to like the leader of the centrist party Action, Carlo Calenda, 49, who posts short political messages, answers questions on the platform and discusses books, Ms. Ferretti said. He has only 24,300 followers. The center-left Democratic Party is the only party that offers a plurality of voices on TikTok. They post thematic videos with topics that are talked about by politicians who are the symbol of such issues, like Alessandro Zan, 48, for the civil rights battle. Enrico Letta, 56, a party leader, recently encouraged users to vote for who they liked. He said the others should not decide for their future. Despite the efforts of politicians to reach a different audience, abstaining seems to be the main threat to the parties and Italian democracy. Ms. Ferretti said that they used to say that Squares are full and the ballot boxes are empty. Now it's more social media is full, and the ballot boxes are empty.