It’s not a situation many would likely have seen coming, but the White House has briefed a group of 30 TikTok influencers on the United State’s approach to Russia’s War on Ukraine.
The Washington Post reports that with millions of people getting their information about the war from TikTok, the Biden administration is treating top influencers as a way to get out its message. The group reportedly met on a Zoom call and received key information about the war in Ukraine from National Security Council adviser Matt Miller and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
The conversation apparently surrounded the strategic goals of the United States and fielded questions about how it would be distributing aid to Ukrainians, how it works with NATO, and how the country would react to Russia’s use of nuclear weapons.
TikTok is Being Treated as a News Source
The move comes as the United States expands its efforts to communicate with a wide range of people. TikTok is one of the dominant methods young people currently use to receive information and the Post says that as videos of Ukrainians suffering is shared on the platform and as Russia scrambles to counter it with dangerous misinformation, many users are apparently turning to high-profile influencers to make sense of the conflict.
“We recognize this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest,” said the White House director of digital strategy, Rob Flaherty on the call, a recording of which the Post has acquired. “So we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source.”
MAR 10 — Background briefing
The Post spoke to several influencers who were on the call and many said they felt more empowered to combat the misinformation that is currently circulating on the platform.
Not the First Time The White House Has Approached TikTok
The Post notes that this is not the first time that the Biden administration has sought to engage with online content creators on important subjects. Last year, the administration worked with several TikTok influencers to encourage vaccination. He also engaged them on infrastructure and the details of his Build Back Better plan.
@kahlilgreene The White House invited content creators to learn more about the crisis in Ukraine. #hiddenhistory #ukraine #blackcommunitytiktok ♬ original sound – Kahlil
The strategy works. The Post says that within hours of the briefing’s conclusion, many of the influencers were sharing the information they learned from the White House with their followers, racking up hundreds of thousands of views.
The full story from The Washington Post can be read on its website.
Image credits: Elements of header photo licensed via Depositphotos.