Tories to PAY TikTok stars to make videos urging migrants not to cross Channel

Tories to PAY TikTok stars to make videos urging migrants not to cross Channel

WATCH: Lee Anderson debates lawyer Ivon Sampson on Channel migrants

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 13/02/2024

- 20:18

The mass advertising campaigns will take place in Albania, Iraq, Egypt and Vietnam, with plans to introduce them in Turkey and India

Celebrities will be paid to post videos on TikTok urging migrants not to cross the Channel in small boats.

New reports from the Home Office suggest that social media influencers in countries that account for a large amount of illegal migration to the UK will be offered thousands to push new immigration laws.

The Times reports that the idea emerged in Downing Street from Cass Horowitz, the social media expert behind "Brand Rishi."

The process is designed to evade the ban on Government use of TikTok, which was introduced last year after security concerns about the Chinese-founded firm. The ban means that the Home Office cannot advertise directly on TikTok.

\u200bTikTok stars will be paid to urge migrants not to cross the channel

TikTok stars will be paid to urge migrants not to cross the channel


It comes as the Home Office is expected to spend £1million on an advertising blitz to be introduced alongside the implementation of the Rwanda policy in the spring.

A shortlist of influencers has been drawn up in Albania with the help of a private market consultancy, which includes a rapper, two comedians, lifestyle bloggers, TV personalities and a travel writer.

Rapper Omg Dioh, who has more than 100,000 TikTok followers, was chosen as a suitable candidate because he "uses the platform to influence and educate youngsters to work hard and follow their passions."

Another influencer is Roxhi Dibrani, a comedian with 150,000 followers, who has a "strong northern Albanian accent, which may help him disseminate messages more easily to young people located in our target regions."


The Home Office is reportedly paying influencers\u200b

The Home Office is reportedly paying influencers


The plan says advertising would play a crucial role in influencing the decision of migrants in conflict-free countries who are considering travelling to the UK for economic opportunities.

It said: "They are either undecided about departing their country or are decided but considering their destination. This campaign is not aimed at those migrants whose 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."

Meanwhile, a budget of £15,000 has been put to one side to paying influencers in Egypt and Vietnam. The budget for Turkish, Iraqi and Indian influencers has yet to be decided but a total of £576,500 has been signed off for these five countries.

In 2022, 13,602 Albanians crossed the Channel in small boats, but the number dropped by 90 per cent last year as fewer than 1,500 arrived. However, many are believed to have switched routes to travel in lorries.

The Home Office said that the aim of the advertising campaign is to "communicate the reality of life in the UK for illegal migrants."

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."

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