Some of TikTok’s biggest influencers, such as 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio (Tik Tok’s most-followed person with 105m followers), 20-year-old Addison Rae (74M followers),16-year-old Sienna Gomez (13.6m followers), and 17-year-old Jack Wright (7.5m followers) developed a passion for saving the Arctic out of thin air.
This is a major departure from the content that these influencers typically post. Charli D’Amelio skyrocketed to fame because of her dance routines. Addison and Jack are known for wearing make-up and lip-synching, though they often dance as well.
At first, it seemed random that a slew of young social media stars with no history of posting about these kinds of issues would suddenly begin advocating for a cause they likely knew nothing about. Nevertheless, they’re pushing it to their enormous following, many of whom are even younger than they are.
But upon further inspection, these posts appear to be a coordinated effort by a left-wing environmental organization, the Campion Advocacy Fund, to use these influencers (who were likely paid) and their hundreds of millions of followers in an attempt to influence federal legislation.
The posts began in the lead-up to a January 6 deadline to stop the Trump administration’s plans to auction off oil drilling leases in the Arctic. It should be noted that a judge did rule that the auction can move forward, but this was an important issue for the Campion Fund and promoted in the ProtectTheArctic.org link.
In addition to advocating for the conservation of public lands, ProtectTheArctic.org is also a promotional website for the documentary “The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness,” which is produced by the Campion Fund.
Visitors are encouraged to sign the petition against Arctic drilling, which requires them to check the box “I allow Protect the Arctic & Alaska Wilderness League to store and process my personal data.” Presumably, in addition to influencing federal legislation, the Campion Fund could also harvest valuable data from millions of young and impressionable TikTok fans this way.
These social media influencers likely have no idea that they are promoting a site funded by a lobbying group, and they don’t care. But their millions of followers don’t know that.
Of course, that’s exactly the point. Just days after the TikTok campaign, Protect The Arctic delivered more than 5,000,000 letters to the Fish and Wildlife Service in protest of Arctic drilling.
Using children as political props is not a new tactic among left-wing organizations, especially those advocating for green initiatives. Just look at the rise of Greta Thunberg. But on TikTok, the reach of these influencers is broader and holds even more mass appeal. Do TikTok users’ parents know lobbying groups are using their peers to indoctrinate their children?
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Author: Ella Carroll-Smith