June 15, 2024

Is Biden’s TikTok Debut Just Fun or a Cause for National Security Concerns?

US President Joe Biden made his first appearance on TikTok during the Super Bowl, causing a stir due to the Chinese-owned social media platform’s controversial security status. TikTok is officially considered a security risk by the US government, as fears persist that it harvests user data for Beijing.

The video, posted as part of Biden’s reelection campaign to engage younger voters, featured a reference to the laser-eyed Biden alter-ego meme. However, Republicans have criticized Biden, a Democrat, for using an app that is banned on federal government devices over concerns about data privacy and information gathering by Beijing.

Even the White House acknowledged its ongoing concerns about TikTok on Monday. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby responded to repeated questions from reporters, stating that there are still national security concerns about using TikTok on government devices, and there has been no change to the policy.

Although the White House refrained from commenting directly on campaign matters due to election rules, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged the general concerns about platforms like TikTok and their potential to spread disinformation. She stated, “It’s a concern that we have.”

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has faced accusations from numerous US politicians, asserting that it is a propaganda tool used by Beijing. However, the company vehemently denies these claims.

Critics of the Biden campaign, such as Republican Senator Joni Ernst, expressed their concerns over joining what they perceive as the Chinese Communist Party’s dangerous propaganda app. Republican Representative Darrell Issa added, “Panic is when the Biden campaign joins TikTok after the White House banned the app from devices a year ago.”

Nevertheless, Biden’s campaign evidently believes that engaging on TikTok is a strategic move to win over younger voters ahead of the potential November showdown with Republican former President and social media giant, Donald Trump.

Additionally, the campaign hopes that these social media posts will assuage voter concerns over Biden’s age. These concerns have intensified since the release of a special counsel report last week, describing Biden as an elderly man with a well-meaning nature but a poor memory.

With a light-hearted approach, Biden’s campaign posted a video titled “lol hey guys” on the @bidenhq campaign TikTok account. The video touches on various subjects, including politics and the NFL championship game.

When asked about a right-wing conspiracy theory suggesting that the game was rigged for pop star Taylor Swift, who is dating Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce, to endorse Biden, Biden jokingly responds, “I’d get in trouble if I told you.”

The video also features the Dark Brandon meme, portraying Biden with glowing red eyes and a big grin, which Democrats use to imply superpowers.

Biden’s TikTok debut, garnering over 5 million views and counting, serves as evidence of the campaign’s dedication and success in finding new and innovative ways to connect with voters, according to Biden campaign deputy manager Rob Flaherty.

Jean-Pierre explained that the exploration of new media platforms partly explains why Biden has held fewer press conferences compared to his predecessors. In his first three years, Biden has held 33 press conferences, while Barack Obama had 66, and Donald Trump had 52, according to the University of California Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it