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Tags: biden | tiktok | ukraine | messaging

White House Enlists TikTok Stars in Ukraine Messaging Campaign

TikTok
TikTok on a smartphone. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

By    |   Friday, 11 March 2022 02:57 PM EST

The White House gathered 30 top TikTok stars on a Zoom call Thursday afternoon to brief them on the war in Ukraine and the United States' strategic goals in the region, according to The Washington Post.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has intensified, millions have followed events there in real time on TikTok. The social media platform offered some of the first footage of the war and has been a primary outlet for spreading news since then.  

TikTok influencers, some with millions of followers, have increasingly been trying to explain the crisis to their audiences.

According to the Post, the White House has been closely monitoring TikTok's rise as a leading news source, which led to its decision to sit down with a curated group of the platform's most recognizable names.

Working with the nonprofit advocacy group, Gen Z for Change, the Biden administration identified the top content creators on the platform, and Victoria Hammett, Gen Z's deputy executive director, reached out to dozens on Tuesday and Wednesday with emailed invitations.   

Kahlil Greene, 21, a creator with more than 534,000 followers on TikTok, told the Post he wasn't surprised when he saw an invitation in his email.

"People in my generation get all our information from TikTok," he said. "It’s the first place we're searching up new topics and learning about things."

It only made sense that the administration would contact people like him on the platform, he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki led the briefing, along with Matt Miller, a special adviser for communications at the White House National Security Council.

"We recognize this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest, so we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source," White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty told the creators in a recording of the call obtained by the Post.

One of the creators on Thursday's call was Aaron Parnas, the 22-year-old son of Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born American businessman and former associate of Rudolph Giuliani's. The elder Parnas was convicted in October on campaign finance charges and recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy, according to the Post.

On the night of Russia's invasion, Aaron Parnas hosted TikTok livestreams explaining the events to more than 800,000 viewers and has emerged as a powerful voice on TikTok by providing continuous news updates about the situation in Ukraine.

"I love my father, but I am not my father," he told the Post.

Jules Suzdaltsev, a Ukrainian-born journalist who runs the TikTok channel Good Morning Bad News, said he felt the tone of the briefing didn't feel age appropriate and that officials dodged tough questions.

"The energy of the call felt like a press briefing for kindergartners," he told the Post.

Within hours of the briefing, the creators began pushing messaging to their millions of TikTok followers. In a video that has been viewed more than 300,000 times, Marcus DiPaola, a news creator on the platform, broke down the meeting's main points.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
The White House gathered 30 top TikTok stars on a Zoom call Thursday afternoon to brief them on the war in Ukraine and the United States' strategic goals in the region, according to The Washington Post.
biden, tiktok, ukraine, messaging
513
2022-57-11
Friday, 11 March 2022 02:57 PM
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