Dem-aligned super-PAC drops $1M on Instagram and TikTok influencers to boost Biden’s appeal to young voters
01/30/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

A political action committee (PAC) supporting the reelection of President Joe Biden has allocated $1 million for social media influencers on Instagram and TikTok.

The super-PAC Priorities USA reportedly plans to tap the popularity of content creators and influencers on the two platforms in a bid to address Biden's popularity decline among voters aged 18 to 34. According to the National Pulse, the posts will cover various topics like the economy, abortion access and democracy.

Priorities USA claims to have enlisted the support of 150 social media influencers – including micro-influencers or those with with fewer than 100,000 followers – for the campaign. It seeks to engage voters from Generation Z and younger Generation Y voters by incorporating more political content into their usual repertoire. Influencers involve will then advocate for voter registration and support for Biden and other progressive candidates in key battleground states. (Related: Pro-Israel PAC to spend $100M to unseat Congress members fighting for Palestinian human rights.)

"We look forward to working with TikTok throughout the cycle," Priorities USA spokesman Jack Doyle said when asked about the PAC's influencer campaign.

One influencer, 42-year-old LaToi Storr, is among the social media personalities recruited by Priorities USA. The Philadelphia-based content creator and lifestyle blogger has been known for her Instagram and TikTok content showcasing local businesses and offering skincare tips.

But thanks to the campaign, she has taken on a new role as a political influencer and has been urging her followers to engage in the political landscape of Pennsylvania. Storr used her platforms to encourage her 16,500 followers to register for a Pennsylvania election for state judges and district attorneys.

The campaign by Priorities USA comes amid several polls revealing a serious drop in support for Biden among younger voters in critical swing states. This decrease was attributed to his old age, declining mental competence and support for Israel in its extermination of Palestinians in Gaza. This means that Biden is struggling to gain popularity among younger voters, whose backing is crucial for the Democratic Party in the 2024 elections.

Social media platforms have confusing guidelines for political ads

Priorities USA faces challenges as it grapples with the varying and, at times, confusing guidelines for political ads across social media platforms as it transitions all its spending to digital communications in 2024.

For instance, TikTok enforces the strictest policy by outright banning political advertising, including branded political content from creators. In contrast, Instagram and Facebook – both owned by Mark Zuckerberg's Meta – allow for paid political ads and sponsored content, provided the group is registered in its ad library. Elon Musk's X platform lifted its political ad ban in 2023.

However, the enforcement of these policies seems inconsistent given the lack of federal regulations in the realm of campaign advertising on social media.

POLITICO shared five TikTok videos from August and October, with the clips coming from influencers paid by the PAC. Four of the five were taken down for violating TikTok's branded content policies on political issues.

Even Storr herself wasn't exempt, with TikTok taking down one of her videos posted on Oct. 27. The clip, which called on people to vote in the Keystone State's election in November, was removed for the same reason. But a version of this video that she posted on Instagram sill remains.

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