Influencers to the rescue? Biden building TikTok army for his 2024 bid
Joe Biden's administration is working on a new social media strategy that includes social media briefing room in the White House that houses the new recruits.
US President Joe Biden plans to recruit TikTok influencers to promote his 2024 reelection run, according to a report by Axios.
Biden’s digital strategy team has promised social media celebrities their very own briefing room in the White House, which they aim to utilize as grounds to mobilize Gen-Z American voters.
Rob Flaherty was identified as the spearhead of Biden’s new social media strategy that aims to boost the President's popularity among young voters. Flaherty was named as an assistant, which shows how much emphasis the White House is placing on digital strategy.
“We are trying to reach young people, but also moms who use different platforms to get information and climate activists and people whose main way of getting information is digital,” Jen O'Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief, told Axios.
If the new strategy goes to plan, the White House will have a new messaging center other than the existing Press Briefing Room.
Biden aims to create a team of influencers all over the US who have local audiences. He hopes that, through this strategy, he will be able to mobilize his social media team in every area he travels to during his reelection campaign.
Harry Sisson, a 20-year-old NYU student who runs the TikTok page that has amassed more than 660,000 followers, was among those recruited, according to Axios.
Sisson told Axios that the White House is working on giving the social media stars press briefing passes.
Harry is outspoken on US politics and is an advocate of the Democrat party. Sisson is also renowned for his promotion of the importance of Gen Z votes in US politics.
Republicans thought that Gen Z was going to sit down and shut up about the Tennessee 3. They couldn’t have been more wrong 👇 pic.twitter.com/ilWuhn0tbB— Harry Sisson (@harryjsisson) April 10, 2023
In one of his videos, Harry said, “Republicans tried to silence their voices and the voices of the many Gen Z activists. They failed and they failed badly. If you thought this was bad for Republicans, just wait until 2024. There will be a wave of young voters showing up to the ballot box and they will vote blue.”
Other recruits include TikToker Vivian Tu and 61-year-old Substack blogger Heather Cox Richardson.
Tu offers financial advice to over 2 million TikTok users, while Richardson is a Boston College professor and caters to an older audience. Richardson has previously interviewed the President in February 2022.
This comes as Biden’s administration recently endorsed the Restrict Act, which aims for a total ban or severe restriction on Chinese social media apps.
The Restrict Act plans to put limits on foreign technologies originating from non-US allied countries, such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba.
The bill is supported by the White House and 26 Senators so far.
The Restrict Act, which was put forth last month by Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Thune, would give the Commerce Department new authority to examine, obstruct, and deal with a variety of transactions involving foreign information and communications technology that pose risks to national security.
Governments around the world including the US have already banned TikTok from government devices, citing unproven "security concerns".
Democrats and Republicans alike have pushed for a ban on TikTok. New presidential powers were proposed by 2 US senate members who wanted to give Biden the to ban TikTok in the US.
The app’s CEO testified before Congress and had to go through a process of mostly uninformed questioning by Congress members earlier in March. The app garners over 150 million US users, and the bans have been criticized as biased as the Chinese apps follow industry standards on privacy and security.