The White House is trying to reach a younger audience with news—starting with social-media influencers.
- President Joe Biden is trying to spread news to Americans of all ages and to engage the younger crowd he is starting with influencers.
- In September, the White House held a celebration and meeting to announce the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act.
- In attendance were a new group of people—influencers.
Why it’s news
The White House announces news often, but who is really listening?
The President is trying to meet young people where they are comfortable—which is typically on their phone screen. In an effort to reach a younger audience with important news, President Biden has started with influencers.
Last month, a big group of TikTok stars and other influencers were invited to The White House for a briefing on the Inflation Reduction Act.
Biden hoped that by doing this the influencers would relay the messages to their big amount of social media followers and spread the news.
Americans are shying away from local and national news channels and turning to the phone to get their news sources—33% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 29 and 15% ages 30 to 49 say they prefer to get their news from social media, according to Pew Research.
“The reality is, if we want to go out and talk to a wide amount of people whose lives are going to be impacted by the Inflation Reduction Act, and both take credit and also tell people how they can access some of the benefits, then we need to get out into the digital communities that people exist in—and that means spending time with digital creators who have huge reaches into those audiences,” says the White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty.
Some of the influencers explained that their followers like to know what’s going on in the world and choose to get their news from them, so this briefing was smart.
Some people gave positive feedback on the influencers attending the briefing, but others did not.
A.B. Burns-Tucker, also known as “iamlegallyhype” on TikTok, says she generally got good feedback from her 600,000 followers on the platform.
“Some people were like, ‘Cool, now I could get some solar panels — like now my granny’s prescriptions are going to be cheaper,’ ” she says.
But others were skeptical.
“One of the things is always like, ‘Oh, you went to the White House. So now you’re gonna say whatever the White House telling you to say,’ right? And it’s like, no, just because I earn my space doesn’t mean I’m gonna be a puppet for somebody.”
The White House was open with the influencers and told them they had no obligations to post anything about the meeting and they recognize that they are all unique individuals.
“We’re not expecting them to become Biden administration propagandists,” Flaherty said. “But we want to make sure that they have the best information that they can get and be able to ask questions, just like reporters would, to be able to inform their audiences.”