Social Media and Malaysia’s 2022 Election: The Growth and Impact of Video Campaigning

Ross Tapsell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article argues that Malaysia’s 2022 General Election (GE15) amplified negative campaigning via new techniques associated with platform and technological advancements, led by creative innovations in campaign tactics, including livestreaming and video content. GE15 was the freest election campaign in Malaysia’s history. All political parties and coalitions enjoyed access to a wide range of mainstream and online media to disseminate content, and new platforms like TikTok emerged as influential conduits of campaign messages. Yet serious problems in this digital public sphere remain a feature of the country’s media landscape. These include cybertroopers, fake news peddlers, and those creating polarizing content around race and religious issues. This article explains how social media campaigning in Malaysia is becoming more professionalized and better resourced, inspiring some diversity and creativity, while at the same time enabling groups who spread narratives intended to incite and enrage, particularly via video content. The Malaysian case exemplifies the growing problems within the contemporary digital public sphere, showing how the professionalization of social media campaigning can lead to disinformation and, ultimately, polarization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-322
    Number of pages20
    JournalPacific Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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