From Facebook to TikTok, U.S. political influencers are paid for posts

In this news, we discuss the From Facebook to TikTok, U.S. political influencers are paid for posts.

A voter registration project compensates Latin mothers for their social media posts on climate change, while a Political Action Committee (PAC) pays eight TikTok influencers for videos to help young people vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Tactic of paying so-called influencers and publishers to create and post political content takes off on social media sites. While Facebook Alphabet Inc and Google Inc. are putting several breaks on election ads in the days around the U.S. vote on Tuesday, sponsored content posted by social media creators is still allowed on their platforms. “We are currently developing our plans on how to deliver messages during this time,” said Christian Tom, digital partnerships manager for the Biden campaign. “I suspect that digital partners at large … will be central to how we meet this communication need.”

Political groups and strategists say they work with paid micro-influencers – people with a few thousand engaged social media followers – who post to platforms including the Chinese video app TikTok, YouTube and Facebook’s Instagram and messaging service. WhatsApp. Groups compensating micro-influencers and social editors for this election’s content have included progressive PAC NextGen America, conservative student group Turning Point USA, and Democratic presidential campaigns. But social media researchers say the practice, which has little federal regulation, blurs the lines on what constitutes digital advertising and raises questions of transparency.

A spokeswoman for TikTok said its ban on political advertising also banned paid content of political influence. A spokesperson for Twitter Inc, which also does not allow political ads, said its ban does not allow it. Under pressure to improve transparency after the 2016 election, several social media companies have launched public databases to track political ads for which they are paid. But sponsored content has not been included in these efforts.

“Facebook will complain that this is something different from an ad because Facebook is not paid directly for it, ”said Laura Edelson, a researcher at New York University who is working on a political advertising transparency project. “But it’s an announcement.” “Branded content is different from advertisements on the platform – we don’t get money for organic branded content posts,” said Facebook said the spokesperson.

She said that like Facebook has no visibility into the financial relationships that take place outside of its platforms, it requires creators to label these publications using its tools. Researchers can use Facebook’s CrowdTangle sponsored political content research tool which uses these tags but says it is difficult to discover and analyze. Facebook Also provides a live view for the public to see some of that content, but the spokesperson said she has no plans to add any additional data.

Sure FacebookBiden’s campaign is setting up paid partnerships with pages ranging from left-wing memes pages like The Other 98% to The Pet Collective, a home for animal videos. He also works with individual influencers, although he claims these efforts are unpaid. The Trump campaign did not respond to questions about whether it had organized paid social media partnerships. Facebook’s CrowdTangle analytics tool also doesn’t display posts that qualify as paid partnerships with the campaign.

Payment for political publications can range from $ 10 to several thousand for a post, researchers and people involved in digital campaigns told Reuters. “It would seem a little fishy not to compensate them,” Curtis Hougland, managing director of Main Street One, a left-wing political enterprise. Hougland said Main Street One has a network of six million micro-influencers, from truckers to coal miners, that he matches paid social media campaigns for unions, political nonprofits. and the candidates.

PAID POSITIONS Inconsistent disclosure practices and a lack of transparency tools make it difficult to track paid political partnerships online.

Tyler Bowyer, COO of Turning Point USA, said his group has created an extensive network of micro-influencers, including those he pays for work, including sharing or producing content, but said he does “very few official paid partnerships”. The conservative youth organization was recently linked to a network of paid teens posting messages without disclosure. On TikTok, influencers paid by the pro-Biden political action committee The 99 Problems to Create Content for a New Account Called “ @houseof_us ”, with 19,000 Followers and 79,000 Likes, Have yet to Use Clauses disclaimer like #ad or #sponsored on messages.

“We’re going to see these creators and ask them to create their own content to support something that they believe in, we’re just asking them to pay for their time,” said Katie Longmyer, one of the PAC co-founders. A spokeswoman for TikTok said the sponsored content disclosures should be visible in the caption of a video. She said TikTok removes undisclosed paid political content when it becomes aware of it.

While the Federal Trade Commission asks social media influencers and creators to clearly label sponsored posts, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) governs political ads. FEC rules state that online public communications advocating for or against a candidate for a fee must include a disclaimer to notify who paid for the content, but it has not set specific guidelines for them. social media influencers.

News Highlights:

  • will be at the heart of how we meet this communication need. Political groups and policy makers say they work with paid micro-influencers – people with a few thousand engaged social media followers – who post to platforms including the Chinese video app TikTok, YouTube and Facebook Instagram and the service messenger belonging to WhatsApp. Groups compensating micro-influencers and social editors for this election’s content included progressive PAC NextGen America, conservative student group Turning Point USA, and Democratic presidential campaigns.
  • Of Facebook at TikTok, U.S. political influencers get paid for posts
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