The White House briefed a number of top TikTok stars on the war in Ukraine in an attempt to dispel fake news about the conflict last week.
Last Thursday, 30 stars on the video sharing social media app TikTok met with White House press secretary Jen Psaki over Zoom to discuss the war in Ukraine.
After Psaki and the influencers discussed the roots of the conflict, how to help Ukrainians, NATO, and threats of nuclear attacks the social media stars were able to ask their own questions in order to best understand the conflict.
Mat Miller, a communications advisor for the White House National Security Council, also participated in the meeting, as well Rob Flaherty, director of digital strategy for the White House.
White House reaches out to TikTok stars to fight Ukraine misinformation
While some may ridicule the move, or argue that it amounted to “controlling the narrative” about the conflict, many young people receive their news about current events from the platform, making it easy to spread fake news on TikTok.
Millions of users are bombarded with videos about the crisis, and some even feature Ukrainians that are still in the country showing the circumstances of their daily lives there.
Others, however, might be Russian propaganda, the Biden administration warned, or misinformation about the conflict.
In order to help TikTok influencers understand the crisis, the White House worked with the advocacy group Gen Z for Change to help select the best creators with whom to discuss the topic.
The organization sent out messages to a number of influencers to collect questions about Ukraine for the White House and to identify the top creators on the platform.
A TikTok creator named Kahlil Greene stated to The Washington Post that it didn’t come as a shock when he received an invitation for the briefing from the White House.
“People in my generation get all our information from TikTok…It’s the first place we’re searching up new topics and learning about things,” said Greene, who has over 500,000 followers on the app.
According to The Washington Post, Flaherty stated to the influencers that they had a direct line of communication with their followers, and that the information they provide should come from an “authoritative source.”
“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,” he stressed.
Ukrainian President Zelensky addresses Congress
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a virtual address via video to members of the US Congress on Wednesday.
“Right now the destiny of our country is being decided, the destiny of our people,” he told senators and representatives.
The Ukrainian president said the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is about more than Ukraine — it is about democracy, freedom, and choosing your own path.
“I call on you to do more,” Zelensky pleaded.
He urged America to remember the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan during the Second World War, and to remember the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US by al-Qaeda terrorists. What is happening to Ukraine is something “Europe has not seen in 80 years,” he told Congress.