The president’s digital strategy team is connecting with social media celebrities and offering them their own briefing room in the White House, Axios reports.
Among those recruited is Henry Sisson, a 20-year-old NYU student who runs a TikTok page with more than 600,000 followers. He offers commentary on US politics and regularly promotes the power of Gen Z to boost support for the Democrats.
Others recruits include Vivian Tu, 29, another TikTok influencer, and Heather Cox Richardson, 61, who writes a popular newsletter on the blogging platform Substack.
It comes as the Biden administration has endorsed the Restrict Act, a bill which proposes a total ban or severe restrictions to the reach and power of Chinese-owned TikTok.
As tensions with China have grown, an increasing number of Democrats have joined the Republicans in calling for such a law.
Biden’s plan to leverage social media to boost popularity was spearheaded by Rob Flaherty, who has been named assistant to the president – a testament to the emphasis the White House is placing on digital strategy.
‘We’re 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 of staff, told Axios.
Plans to create a dedicated White House briefing space for influencers to meet is another sign that the new push is serious. It would mean the existing Press Briefing Room no longer would be the administration’s only messaging center.
‘We actually asked the White House, ‘When are we going to get press briefing passes?’ ‘ Sisson told Axios. ‘They were actually were very responsive to it,’ he added.
Sisson’s short video clips have gone viral on TikTok a number of times. He often discusses the power of Gen Z voters to impact elections.
‘Republicans tried to silence their voices and the voices of the many Gen Z activists,’ he said in one video. ‘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.’
Biden lags behind the former president Donald Trump when it comes to reach on social media, especially on video hosting platforms like YouTube and Facebook, Axios reported.
His new strategy will primarily target platforms used by younger voters, such as Instagram and TikTok.