TikTok’s Last-Ditch Effort Amid US Ban: Recruiting Nuns, Veterans and Ranchers

April 5th, 2024 4:15 PM

Fazed by a looming ban in the U.S., TikTok has deployed what appears to be a desperate, last-ditch effort to gain support from conservative Americans through propaganda-like ads.

According to The New York Times, the communist Chinese-owned social media platform has funneled over $3.1 million on a marketing campaign in three weeks alone, coinciding with the Senate's evaluation of a major anti-TikTok bill. The bill aims to give the US President the authority to force TikTok to divest from its Chinese-based parent company, ByteDance. 

As reported by The Times, the multi-million dollar ad campaign might be part of a broader effort by TikTok to pander to conservatives. Disturbingly, the multi-million dollar ad is taking place in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Ohio—all battleground states in 2024. The individuals participating in the campaign are none other than nuns, ranchers and veterans.

One of last month's ads features Brian Firebaugh (“the Cattle Guy”), a rancher with almost half a million TikTok followers. In the ad, Firebaugh is seen outside the U.S. Capitol holding a sign: “TikTok changed my life for the better.” Echoing these words and wearing a cowboy hat and boots, he claimed in the ad, “There is no doubt that I would not have found the success that I have today without TikTok.”

But ranchers are not the only demographic currently on TikTok’s target list.

TikTok also recruited U.S. Navy Veteran Kenny Jary, popularly known to his 2.7 million TikTok followers as “Patroitc Kenny.” In a campaign ad, Jary and his neighbor Amanda (who also serves as his producer) are seen touting TikTok after their videos went viral. “I didn’t know nothing about TikTok,” he said. “Once I got involved with TikTok, I loved it.”


In another ad, Sister Monica Clare, an Episcopal nun, claimed she used TikTok to promote religion. “Because of TikTok, I’ve created a community where people can feel safe asking questions about spirituality,” she said. In remarks to The Times, she defended the campaign aid, claiming: “It’s very smart of TikTok to say no, that’s not what we are — we’re a lot more than that.”

Despite TikTok’s unsuccessful attempts to brainwash Americans, the social media platform came under fire after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act on March 13. The proposed law would prevent ByteDance-owned applications, including TikTok, from operating in the U.S. unless they divest from their parent company.

President Joe Biden claimed he would sign the law if the Senate were to pass it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has not specified when (or if) he will bring such a bill to the Senate floor.

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