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British govt to pay TikTok influencers for campaign against migration

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The British government has initiated a partnership with TikTok influencers to dissuade migrants from attempting perilous Channel crossings in small boats.

For the past three years, the Home Office has been actively engaged in campaigns aimed at deterring illegal migration in countries such as Albania, France, and Belgium. Now, Home Secretary James Cleverly has authorized an expansion of these efforts to encompass several additional nations.

Draft documents obtained by The Times reveal extensive advertising campaigns planned for Albania, Iraq, Egypt, and Vietnam, with intentions to extend them to Turkey and India as well.

A handpicked group of influencers in Albania, comprising a diverse array of individuals including a rapper, two comedians, lifestyle bloggers, TV personalities, and a travel writer, has been selected for their resonance with young men, the primary target demographic. 

The Home Office has allocated a budget of approximately £30,000 for Albanian influencers, capped at £5,000 per individual.

In Egypt and Vietnam, a £15,000 budget has been allocated for influencers. However, the budget for Turkish, Iraqi, and Indian influencers is pending determination, with a total of £576,500 allocated for the five countries.

A spokesperson from the Home Office emphasized the critical role of social media platforms in countering the misinformation propagated by people smugglers. 

They underscored the government’s commitment to leveraging all available means to inform migrants about the perils of crossing the Channel and entering the UK illegally.

The spokesperson stated, “We make no apologies for using every means necessary to stop the boats and save lives.”

Since 2018, nearly 116,000 individuals have embarked on the perilous journey across the Channel on small boats, according to Home Office data. With over 1,600 migrants having already made the crossing this year, leaked Border Force documents suggest this number could surge to around 35,000 in 2024.

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