Influencers on the popular social media platform TikTok are using their reach to voice concerns over the state of the economy, causing concerns among Joe Biden's team that this could impact his chances for re-election in 2024. Hashtags like 'Silent Recession' are gaining traction, undermining the White House's message about the positive signs of 'Bidenomics.'
The younger generation, comprising Generation Z and Millennials, are estimated to make up a significant portion of the voting population in the upcoming election, potentially equaling the voting power of the Baby Boomers and older generations. Recognizing this, the White House is attempting to dispel the narrative of a failing economy.
Deputy campaign manager for Biden, Rob Flaherty, has highlighted their efforts to collaborate with content creators on TikTok to amplify a positive and affirmative message about the economy. Biden himself has met with approximately 60 TikTok creators to discuss his student loan forgiveness plan, and his campaign staff has shared videos with key TikTok influencers, featuring young people emotionally reacting to the news of their forgiven loans.
However, the promise of student loan forgiveness is currently facing legal obstacles. The Supreme Court recently struck down a loan forgiveness program, but the administration has managed to cancel over $48 billion in debt through alternative means. Despite their efforts, the Biden administration has not received adequate credit for their accomplishments.
While a few political campaign posts promoting Biden's jobs record have garnered thousands of likes on TikTok, content creators focusing on the 'Silent Depression' have received hundreds of thousands of likes. Influencer William Dawson's video expressing his concerns about the state of the American economy received 157,000 likes, where he highlighted statistics showing the increasing challenges faced by young people today compared to the Great Depression era.
Other TikTokers like Kyla Scanlon have also gained attention for their videos addressing specific economic issues, such as the housing crisis. With high mortgage rates, the housing market has stagnated, discouraging younger generations from moving out of their parents' homes. Scanlon noted that content creators on TikTok are aware of their influence and their ability to shape public opinion.
Freddie Smith, a real estate agent, made a TikTok complaining about rising costs of housing, rent, cars, gas, and groceries. While inflation has decreased from its peak last year, groceries remain significantly more expensive than in 2019, and gas prices have risen. Many millennials and Generation Z individuals feel caught in a "tug of war" as they face these economic challenges.
The concerns expressed by influencers on TikTok highlight the growing unease among younger generations about their financial future and the state of the economy. The Biden administration recognizes the importance of addressing these concerns and aims to work with content creators to foster a more positive narrative. However, the popularity of 'Silent Depression' posts suggests that the message may not be resonating as effectively as desired.