Biden reelection campaign joins TikTok — though Biden banned its use on government devices

Biden reelection campaign joins TikTok — though Biden banned its use on government devices

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President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign launched its account on TikTok, the popular social media app, Sunday night during the Super Bowl, despite his administration’s concerns about the app’s security and whether user data can be shared with the Chinese government.    

The account “Biden HQ” posted a video captioned “lol hey guys,” featuring Mr. Biden answering “this or that” Super Bowl-related questions, like “game or halftime show?” (“Game”) and “Jason Kelce or Travis Kelce?” (Mama Kelce, for her apparently “great chocolate chip cookies.”)

In the video, the campaign and president also made light of a baseless conspiracy theory that the Kansas City Chiefs’ success was rigged. Asked if he was “deviously plotting to rig the season so the Chiefs would make the Super Bowl” or if the Chiefs are just “being a good football team,” Mr. Biden responded, “I’d get in trouble if I told you.” A picture of “dark Brandon,” a satirical meme of Biden with laser beams shooting out of his eyes, then flashed on screen. 

Mr. Biden’s “X” account leaned into the meme again, and trolled baseless conspiracy theories from fringe conservatives that pop star Taylor Swift’s relationship with Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce are part of a “pro-Biden” agenda.

“Just like we drew it up,” Biden posted with a “dark Brandon” image after the Kansas City Chiefs won Sunday’s Super Bowl. 

By Monday morning, the Biden campaign’s TikTok account had over 4.6 million views on the app. 

Biden campaign advisers say their entry into the platform is an attempt to “continue meeting voters where they are.”

“In a media ecosystem that is more fragmented and personalized than ever, it’s even more important to get our message across every channel and every platform possible,” campaign advisers said.

They add that the campaign itself will be running the TikTok account, and that there’s been no decision on whether the president or “any of the principals might also join in the future.”

The White House banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices at the beginning of 2023, following measures taken by Congress to ban the app on federal government devices at the end of 2022. 

In March 2023, the Biden administration was weighing a national ban of the app, unless TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, divested from the social media platform. The Justice Department launched an investigation into ByteDance for possible spying on U.S. citizens, CBS News reported that same month.

Campaign advisers say the campaign is “taking advanced security precautions” around devices and is “incorporating a sophisticated security protocol.”

“The campaign’s presence is independent and apart from the ongoing CFIUS review,” advisers said, referencing a review of TikTok by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

But even prior to the reelection campaign’s account, Biden’s White House hadn’t completely shunned TikTok: influencers on the app were briefed by the White House on the war in Ukraine, Mr. Biden took part in an interview with TikTok creator Daniel Mac, and digital influencers were invited to an exclusive Christmas party at the White House in 2023.   

The Democratic National Committee has had a more established presence on TikTok, with over 510,000 followers and 640 videos as of Monday morning, many of them centered around the president. 



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