According to reports, Chinese-owned TikTok covered the travel expenses of well-known influencers from its app to gather in Washington when the CEO of the firm testified before congress.
TikTok Pays For Influencers
As TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew prepared to appear at the U.S. House of Representatives, the social media giant TikTok reportedly conducted a massive campaign in Washington, D.C.
This involved arranging for TikTok users to visit lawmakers, employees, and journalists from their home states.
The struggling Chinese tech giant compensated scores of influencers to commute to Washington; this also included their lodging, food, and travel expenses.
These individuals each have a viewing public of about 60 million followers. The influencers were encouraged to tell their story to their followers as they spoke with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
TikTok Paid for an Astroturfed Mob of Influencers to Show Up as CEO Testified Before Congress That’s how the Democratic’s work. Paid sheep 🐑 https://t.co/cTGFXU5Eji
— Misty “MJ” Jernigan (@MistyJernigan17) March 24, 2023
A spokeswoman for TikTok, Jamal Brown, claims the firm intended to raise awareness of the possible effects of a U.S. ban on the app for Americans who are said to rely upon it for their careers.
Upwards of 150 million Americans, which include five million U.S. businesses, depend on TikTok to drive innovation, connect with others, and make a living, according to Brown.
He highlighted that TikTok supplied financial assistance for the influencers and their patrons to guarantee they could participate in the event with no obstacles.
TikTok Paid for an Astroturfed Mob of Influencers to Show Up as CEO Testified Before Congress. TikTok is a CCP concern and Must be Banned! https://t.co/ECMNrefAg4
— Proud Jewish Veteran (@soberin951) March 24, 2023
Most of the attendees chose to accept TikTok’s offer of free transportation, lodging, and meals, but not all did. A few attendees opted to cover their own expenses.
Influencer Alexandra Doten said on TikTok that they just bussed her in and she even got a hotel room too.
Influencers Discuss Repercussions
According to a mental health advocate who lives in New Jersey, they aren’t being paid by TikTok, but the company just transported them there and covered costs.
She claimed this is all public record and the company’s goal is to let influencers tell their stories and share with legislators their opinions on why banning the app could have some negative outcomes.