President Biden’s 2024 campaign joined TikTok on Super Bowl Sunday, an effort to connect with young voters ahead of the November presidential election. The move comes despite Biden’s previous firm stance against the app and its potential national security concerns.
The account, @Bidenhq, will be run by Biden’s campaign staff alongside other accounts on X, Threads, Facebook, and Truth Social, according to campaign advisers. On Monday, the account already had more than 51,000 followers, and Biden’s first video more than half a million.
"The campaign will continue meeting voters where they are, innovating to create content that will resonate with critical audiences and the core constituencies that make up the President’s diverse and broad coalition of voters," advisers said in a statement. Biden campaign advisers also said they "are taking advanced safety precautions around our devices and incorporating a sophisticated security protocol to ensure security."
The app, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has faced scrutiny in Congress over improper data use, given that Chinese law requires China's companies to share information with the government. (TikTok has denied sharing U.S. data with the Chinese government.)
The Biden Administration’s policy has previously been critical of TikTok. In late 2022, the President signed legislation blocking the use of the app on government devices. Last year, the administration threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if ByteDance did not sell its stake in TikTok to an American company.
But his team has also turned to creators on the app to reach younger audiences, even inviting a group of creators to the White House in 2022 for a private meeting with the President. TikTokers have been briefed by the administration on everything from the war in Ukraine to student debt relief in the hopes of spreading the administration’s policy information with the growing population of users who turn to the platform for news.
The app proved to be a strong force for mobilizing young voters in the 2020 Presidential election. A survey published last March found that 20% of Gen Z got information about political issues from TikTok in 2022.
In his first video, captioned “lol hey guys”, a staffer asked the President various rapid-fire questions related to the Super Bowl, such as which team he was supporting for the Super Bowl, and which of the two Kelce brothers was his favorite.
At the end, he was asked to choose between himself and former President Donald Trump.
“Are you kidding?” he said. “Biden.”
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