This isn’t engaging. This is propaganda.
The White House met a bunch of TikTok “stars” on Zoom to tell them how they can sell the Biden administration’s message on the war in Ukraine.
It’s weird. I’ve been watching shows on dictators this week. The shows reminded me how the dictators used media platforms at the time to push their messages to the people.
The administration worked with the nonprofit group Gen Z For Change to determine which “stars” to invite to the Zoom call.
These “stars” received information from National Security Council staffers and Jen Psaki. These employees told the “stars” all “about the United States’ strategic goals in the region and answered questions on distributing aid to Ukrainians, working with NATO and how the United States would react to a Russian use of nuclear weapons.”
It lasted around 51 minutes. Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz posted the call on Soundcloud.
TikTok stars have more access to the Biden White House than the American people. https://t.co/8xCY0jxEqe
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) March 11, 2022
The Biden team refuses to talk to American energy producers, but briefing TikTok “stars” … https://t.co/0rQYRGuyn2
— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) March 11, 2022
TikTok “star” Kahlil Greene said those “in my generation get all our information from TikTok.” He explained that the platform is “the first place we’re searching up new topics and learning about things.”
Things and stuff.
I cannot argue with Greene. Non-leftists have to engage in all platforms. Even though a lot of those targeted in these TikTok videos cannot vote they are still important.
But this is not engaging. This is flat-out propaganda (emphasis mine):
The briefing was led by Matt Miller, a special adviser for communications at the White House National Security Council, and Psaki. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the call, and in it, Biden officials stressed the power these creators had in communicating with their followers. “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, “so we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source.”
Jules Terpak, a Gen Z content creator who makes TikTok essays about digital culture, said the White House’s decision to engage creators such as she was essential in helping to stop the spread of misinformation. “Those who have an audience can ideally set the tone for how others decide to assess and amplify what they see online,” she said.
Ukrainian-born journalist Jules Suzdaltsev, the operator of TikTok’s Good Morning Bad News news channel, described the officials’ tones as “too soft” and said they “dodged hard questions.”
The “energy” given off during the “call felt like a press briefing for kindergartners,” Suzdaltsev concluded.
Telling these youngins what to say to their followers is not engagement. The officials aren’t answering those hard questions. They are simply using these young people to push out their message and version of events.
It’s disgusting. This is no better than dictators telling those with outreach what they can and cannot relay to their audience.
So as soon as the meeting ended the “stars” flooded TikTok with videos filled with Biden’s message:
Within hours of the briefing’s conclusion, the influencers began blasting out messaging to their millions of followers. A video posted by Marcus DiPaola, a news creator on TikTok, offered key takeaways from the meeting in a video that has been viewed more than 300,000 views. Greene also posted a recap, adding his own critical analysis at the end, calling out the Biden administration for not “acknowledging its role in other occupations and invasions around the world.”
Ellie Zeiler, an 18-year-old TikTok star with more than 10.5 million followers, said she hopes to remain in communication with the White House and continue to press officials there about key issues. She sees herself as a voice for young people and the growing contingent of news consumers getting information primarily through social media platforms.
“I’m here to relay the information in a more digestible manner to my followers,” she said. “I would consider myself a White House correspondent for Gen Z.”
Again, there’s a difference between engaging and propaganda. This is pure propaganda.
This is one of the TikTok stars that the White House invited on a zoom call to get briefed on Ukraine.
Her channel, which is just hundreds of videos of her dancing, is definitely the first place I would go to get Biden approved news on the war 🤡
The adults are back in charge. pic.twitter.com/yzxiPOsZ22
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 11, 2022
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