White House officials Now Bringing in TikTok stars to fight for Ukraine

According to US media, White House officials held a special briefing on the Ukraine conflict for 30 social media creators, adding that the Biden administration is increasingly exploring new modes of communication to reach younger audiences.

The briefing was held on Thursday by Matt Miller, the White House National Security Council’s special adviser for communications, and Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary. The officials explained the US’s “strategic goals in the region” and answered questions about US aid to Ukraine, NATO, and Washington’s potential response to a Russian nuclear strike on a zoom call, according to The Washington Post on Friday.

People creating “explanatory” content about the conflict on TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter were among those invited to the briefing. The Biden administration has collaborated with Gen Z For Change, a nonprofit group, to identify content creators for the briefing, according to the Washington Post, which broke the storey first.

Aaron Parnas, the 22-year-old son of Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born American businessman and former associate of Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and then-President Donald Trump’s lawyer, was among those invited. In October, Lev Parnas was convicted on campaign finance charges and pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

“We recognise this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public learns about the latest,” said Rob Flaherty, White House director of digital strategy, adding that Washington wanted to “ensure” social media influencers get “the latest information from an authoritative source.”

According to the Washington Post, some influencers said they “felt more empowered to debunk misinformation and communicate effectively about the crisis” after the briefing. “I’m here to relay the information to my followers in a more digestible manner,” 18-year-old Ellie Zeiler, who has 10.5 million followers on Twitter, told the Washington Post after the briefing. “I’d consider myself a White House correspondent for Generation Z,” the TikTok influencer continued.

Others, on the other hand, appeared unimpressed by the event. “The energy of the call felt like a press briefing for kindergarteners,” Jules Suzdaltsev, a Ukrainian-born journalist who also runs a popular TikTok channel, said. He went on to say that the officials had avoided difficult questions.

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