The Biden administration is "moving toward" creating a press briefing room just for social media influencers, particularly users of the Chinese spyware app TikTok, Axios reported Sunday.
President Joe Biden's "not-yet-official bid for reelection will lean on hundreds of social media 'influencers' who will tout Biden's record," leading the administration to consider setting aside "a dedicated White House briefing space for influencers to meet in person or by remote," separate from the White House Briefing Room. The administration particularly wants to court influencers on "platforms favored by younger voters, such as Instagram and TikTok," Axios wrote.
TikTok, a social media app that shares user data with its Chinese Communist Party-affiliated parent company and has spied on American citizens, has long had a cozy relationship with the Biden administration. Before last year's midterm elections, the Democratic National Committee paid for TikTokers to visit Washington, D.C., and meet with the president, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Just last month, the White House used an app owned by TikTok's parent company to make an Instagram video reel—a post released on the same day that TikTok's CEO faced withering bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill.
The spyware app recently bought a direct line to the White House, hiring Democratic public relations juggernaut SKDK for "communications support," the Free Beacon reported. SKDK founding partner Anita Dunn is one of Biden's top aides, and SKDK executives met with administration officials as recently as this month.
While Biden woos TikTokers, many of his fellow Democrats have joined Republicans in opposing the Chinese app. House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), for example, said last month that he mostly agrees with committee chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), who supports banning the app.
TikTok's "Communist-based China ownership and its popularity" exacerbate the app's "danger to our country and to our privacy," Pallone said.