The White House is relaunching its official Snapchat account on Tuesday, featuring a message from President Joe Biden focused on Covid-19.
In his first official Snapchat story as president, Biden sits in the White House dining room, wearing a face mask. He tells Snapchatters why he is wearing a mask and asks them to do the same.
“I’m wearing a mask because people are around me,” Biden says in the video. “Please, please, please wear a mask.”
“You’re going to save lives. You’re going to save families’ lives. It matters, it matters. It’s the patriotic thing to do. Please wear a mask.”
Along with this message, Biden takes Snapchatters behind the scenes of his tour at the National Institutes of Health laboratory last week.
Biden visited the NIH Viral Pathogenesis Lab on February 11 to see where some of the Covid-19 vaccines were designed. While he was there, Dr. Barney Graham, chief of the lab and deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center at NIH, showed the President several models of the virus to demonstrate how mutations affect its shape.
Biden also spent time with Dr. Anthony Fauci that day. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is featured in the White House’s Snapchat message, giving an explanation of how the Covid-19 vaccine works titled “Dr. Fauci’s vaccine lesson.”
The White House Snapchat account launched in 2016 during the Obama administration and continued throughout the Trump administration. But throughout his presidency, Donald Trump also continued to use his Real Donald Trump account. Snapchat stopped promoting Trump’s content from that account on its Discover page in June in the wake of his controversial comments on anti-racist protests across the US at the time. It permanently terminated Trump’s account following the insurrection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol on January 6.
Biden’s Snapchat message on Tuesday reflects an administration priority: combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Since taking office nearly a month ago, Biden has largely zeroed in on economic relief and public health measures to get the country back on track amid the coronavirus pandemic. He’s focused on getting his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through Congress as well as getting coronavirus vaccines into the arms of Americans.
To encourage wearing masks, the Biden administration has taken to social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and now Snapchat.
The White House Snapchat account appears on the app’s Discover page, which is a closed platform and features content curated by Snap, Snapchat’s parent company.
“Just as President Biden has said that he’ll be a President for all Americans, our digital program aims to reach all Americans wherever they are – and that includes the millions of people who use Snapchat every day. The White House Snapchat has always been a critical platform to reach young Americans, and we’re excited to bring it back,” White House digital director Rob Flaherty told CNN Tuesday.
“As the Biden-Harris Administration works to beat the pandemic, build back our economy better, advance racial equity, and tackle climate change, folks on the platform can expect us to use our account to have a direct conversation with them about the President’s agenda, and to maybe even hear from a special guest or two,” Flaherty added.
According to Snap, Snapchat reaches over 265 million daily active users globally and 92 million daily active users in North America, and the app is particularly popular among young people.
Biden and his team used Snapchat throughout the 2020 campaign cycle and the transition period preceding the inauguration. His campaign account connected with Snapchatters and hosted weekly shows with senior staff, including adviser Symone Sanders.