UK enlists TikTokers to tell migrants not to come to Britain

The UK has announced it will be paying TikTok influencers in an attempt to dissuade migrants from coming from other countries such as Albania, Egypt and Vietnam, The Times reports.

The influencers will be paid thousands of pounds to post about Britain's new immigration laws, including the possibility of deportation to Rwanda.

The idea originated from Cass Horowitz, a social media expert and the brains behind Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's "brand." It will cleverly work around the UK ban on government use of TikTok, which is reportedly being used currently by smugglers to advertise Channel crossings to immigrants.

This is part of a £1 million advertising initiative which will be implemented alongside the Home Office's Rwanda policy in the spring.

Prospective Albanian influencers include a rapper, two comedians, lifestyle bloggers, TV personalities and a travel writer, all sourced with the help of private market Multicultural Marketing Consultancy (MMC). The total budget for Albanian influencers would be around £30,000 and capped at £5,000 per person.

Rapper Omg Dioh was chosen because he "uses the platform to influence and educate youngsters to work hard and follow their passions."

Comedian Roxhi Dibrani has a "strong northern Albanian accent, which may help him disseminate messages more easily to young people located in our target regions."

Fabio Daja is a "lifestyle influencer” who “cares about issues and actively shares his opinions in a funny optimistic way."

Ben Washburn is an American travel blogger who loves Albania and "triggers the desire to explore and love Albania more."

Each boasts of following upwards of 100,000 on TikTok and were selected "to disseminate key messages on TikTok about the reasons to remain in country, risks to crossings [and] the legislation that applies if you arrive in the UK," according to the agency.

The content will not be UK government-branded but the influencers will need to state their affiliation with the Home Office for transparency.

In addition, a budget of £15,000 has been dedicated to paying influencers in Egypt and Vietnam. Other countries to potentially target in the campaign include Iraq, Turkey and India, for which a total of £576,500 has been allocated.

The Home Office said that the goal of the campaign is to "communicate the reality of life in the UK for illegal migrants," specifically those who are "either undecided about departing their country or are decided but considering their destination."

It adds: "This campaign is not aimed at those migrants who minds are already set on making the illegal journey to the UK: we know that the influence we can have over them is limited. For this campaign’s audience, largely comprising young working-age males and their family, influencers’ communications have a role in encouraging them to consider the risk of exploitation, apprehension, detention and ultimately return, as reasons illegal migration to the UK is not the right choice."

A Home Office spokesman said: "People smugglers frequently use social media to peddle lies and promote their criminal activities and it is vital that we utilise the same platforms to inform migrants about the truths about crossing the Channel and coming to the UK illegally."

Image: Title: Albanian influencers
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