The White House digital strategy team will seek out hundreds of social media “influencers” nationwide to tout the Biden administration’s record, potentially designating a briefing room for the content creators at the presidential mansion.
Biden officials told Axios that four staffers for the White House, not the president’s unofficial campaign, would focus their attempts on unpaid influencers and independent content creators, pushing digital influence to gain support from young voters ahead of the president’s likely bid for re-election in 2024.
“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.
In addition to the digital strategy team working with Biden, the content creators could potentially set up camp in a dedicated briefing space at the White House to meet in person or remotely.
Harry Sisson, a 20-year-old NYU student, gives daily news updates to his 660,000 followers on TikTok.
Sisson told Axios the group of influencers asked the White House for official press briefing passes.
“They were actually were very responsive to it,” he said.
Biden has said he intends to seek another term but has yet to make a bid official.
Aside from a likely second run for White House from Biden, other candidates challenging the current Democrat frontrunner include Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy — and self-help author Marianne Williamson.
On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump is seeking another term, and early polls suggest he is likely to secure the GOP primary.
Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have also entered the 2024 race for the GOP presidential nomination. Others who may yet join the contest include former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
According to the Edison Research National Election Pool exit poll, youth voters between the ages of 19-29 favored Biden over Trump by a 26-point margin during the 2020 presidential election. Democrats, in general, received 28-points over Republicans in the 2022 midterms.
“The national youth vote choice for the U.S. House of Representatives was 63% for Democrats, 35% for Republicans,” the exit poll reads. “That’s almost identical to 2020, when youth preferred Democrats to Republicans by 62% to 36%, and a small shift in favor of Republicans from the previous midterm: in 2018, the youth vote between Democrats and Republicans was 67% to 32% — which was the largest margin ever for Democrats among young voters.”
The move from the Biden administration comes after White House officials said the president’s team would partner with social media influencers to warn about fentanyl dangers amid a 200 percent spike in deaths related to the drug among youths from 2019 to 2021.
Last year, Biden reportedly met with eight TikTok creators, who have a combined following of more than 67 million followers, to reach voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections without explicitly supporting parties or candidates.
The White House’s digital strategy team project also comes amid renewed scrutiny of TikTok, which former President Donald Trump considered banning at the end of his term, and increasingly strained relations between the United States and China. Biden and a number of state officials have banned the platform from government devices after reports indicated that employees of ByteDance, the Chinese technology firm which owns TikTok, monitored the locations of specific American users.