Biden Campaign Reveals Official TikTok Account; app still banned on most government devices
US President Joe Biden arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York City, US, February 7, 2024.
Evelyn Hockstein Reuters
President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign launched an official TikTok account on Sunday afternoon. The account is unique because TikTok is currently banned on most devices issued by the US government.
The TikTok account, with the handle “@bidenhq,” ended Sunday in celebration of the Lunar New Year in China and Super Bowl 58 in the US
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In late 2022, Biden signed legislation that banned most government-owned devices from using TikTok. The provision was part of a large omnibus spending bill and, at the time, was a major boon for China hawks in Congress.
Several states and New York City followed suit, banning TikTok on government-owned devices last year, citing a wide range of security concerns.
TikTok’s parent company is China-based ByteDance. Company CEO Shou Zi Chew is from Singapore and graduated from Harvard Business School.
One of TikTok’s largest outside investors is Susquehanna International Group. The company’s billionaire co-founder, Jeffrey Yass, has donated millions to lawmakers who want to block a total ban on the app in the states.
Several US lawmakers have accused TikTok, and other social media platforms, of spreading content online that has been harmful to children’s mental health and failing to protect children on- line.
Biden campaign advisers told NBC News that the TikTok account is part of an effort to meet voters where they are.
The app remains a must-have for young people, including those of voting age in the U.S. According to Pew Research data released at the end of 2023, about one-third of 18-29-year-olds in the U.S. said they would get they news regularly on TikTok, a higher share than ever before.
Tighter regulation of social media companies including TikTok, Meta, SnapDiscord and X (formerly Twitter) represented a rare case of bipartisan agreement at a Senate hearing on child safety last month.
The Biden White House has had a love-hate relationship with TikTok since Biden took office. On the one hand, the administration put an open courting on TikTok stars and content producers to help spread public service messages and engage young people in civic events.
But as China’s skeptical lawmakers stepped up their campaign against the company in recent years, the Biden White House willingly agreed with them, going so far as to press ByteDance for TikTok. to sell
– CNBC’s Jonathan Vanian contributed to the report.