As the US Government continues to weigh a potential ban on TikTok, the Biden Administration is also looking to utilize the app’s influence to sway young voters, with the White House working with hundreds of social media influencers to help communicate Biden’s policy agenda, ahead of a likely re-election campaign.
As reported by Axios:
“Biden’s digital strategy team will connect with influencers across the nation to target those who may not follow the White House or Democratic Party on social media – or who have tuned out mainstream media altogether. Four Biden digital staffers are focused on influencers and independent content creators. The staffers officially work for the White House, not Biden’s campaign -but reaching young and suburban voters is clearly a priority.”
Biden’s team is aiming to work with influencers in regional communities, coinciding with Biden’s visits to those regions, in order to maximize messaging resonance. TikTok and Instagram will be the key platforms of focus in this new push.
Which, of course, makes sense – young people are highly engaged on both platforms, more so than other social apps. But it does also seem like a conflict – on the one hand, Biden’s close to signing a bill that would outlaw TikTok entirely, while on the other, it’s using it as a key connective tool?
I mean, both have their own logic, and are not necessarily connected – and if anything, it’s possible that the use of TikTok for political campaigning could further underscore its potential influence in this respect.
But it is an interesting comment on the current media landscape, with a Chinese-owned platform, viewed as a potential vector for foreign influence, also considered to be an important platform for connecting with prospective voters.
Does that lessen the likelihood of a possible TikTok ban in the US? Probably not.
It’s unclear where the White House currently stands on this, but after the recent appearance of TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew before the US Senate, which didn’t seem to go overly well for the company, and even more recent displays of Chinese aggression in Taiwan, after Taiwanese officials met with US representatives, TikTok doesn’t seem to be in any better position, in regards to the concerns around the app.
That could still see Biden drop the banhammer at any time – but till then, it seems that they’ll also be using it to maximize Biden’s own messaging among the youth.
An interesting statement on the state of media in 2023.