US President Joe Biden’s main re-election SuperPAC is raising millions of dollars to try to solve a problem that worries Democrats: how to compete with Republican Donald Trump’s social media machine, which generates a wall of viral videos.

The previously undisclosed effort by the highly secretive Future Forward USA Action highlights widespread concerns among Democrats and Biden donors that he and his campaign are losing the viral video war to the Republican Party, which relentlessly portrays him as too old and out of touch. of reality.

Democrats say they are trying to reach a battleground with few rules or ways to control manipulated or misleading content before it reaches tens of millions of Americans on their smartphones.

The Palo Alto-based SuperPAC, backed by tech giants like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and LinkedIn founder Reed Hoffman, is raising at least $10 million to help better understand the algorithms that help Trump and its allies to dominate vertical video platforms.

It also plans to collaborate with left-leaning influencers to help generate and disseminate new content, according to two sources familiar with the plans.

Many popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have adopted short, vertical videos as their primary format. They have given rise to a network of “influencers” who use the platforms to reach millions of Americans with content about what they are eating, wearing and thinking.

Future Forward teamed up with Democratic groups Way to Win and Hub Project last month at a luxury Washington D.C. hotel to host 140 influencers for a three-day event called “Trending Up,” organizers say.

Future Forward’s current effort is focused on Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikTok, sources said.

“Future Forward is here to help solve problems, and TikTok is a problem, and the group is reasonably trying to solve that problem,” said one of the Democratic sources.

The social media battle could have a disproportionate impact on a race between Biden and Trump that polls show is extremely close and features two unpopular candidates. Since February, when the Biden campaign officially joined the TikTok platform, it has posted more than 200 times and accumulated just over 380,000 followers. Trump joined TikTok about two weeks ago, but has already accumulated 6.4 million followers.

Social media plays a crucial role in Americans’ news consumption, especially among younger people. Half of U.S. adults get their news at least occasionally from social media, according to a February Pew Research Center study, which opens in new tab.
Chauncey McLean, head of Future Forward, did not respond to requests for comment. The group, which plans to spend $250 million on television and digital ads this campaign season, rarely speaks publicly about its activities.

The Republican National Committee, major conservative media outlets and right-wing influencers have been releasing videos, some misleadingly edited, that exploit voters’ existing concerns about Biden’s age.

They often isolate a few seconds of Biden’s public movements to suggest he is disoriented or walking away, when a longer or wider-angle edit shows Biden interacting with passersby or doing nothing out of the ordinary. The White House and Democrats refer to these quickly produced videos, which use basic editing tools, as cheap fakes.

The RNC says the White House criticism is “naked panic from out-of-control Democrats.”

Fake accounts posting about the US presidential election are proliferating on social media platform X, Reuters reported earlier this year.
Analysts at Israeli technology company Cyabra, which uses a subset of artificial intelligence called machine learning to identify fake accounts, found that 15% of accounts on X praising Trump and criticizing Biden are fake. The report also found that 7% of accounts praising Biden and criticizing Trump are fake.

Via Reuters.


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