Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Biden campaign debuts official TikTok account, but app is still banned on most government devices


U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, United States, February 7, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign launched an official TikTok account Sunday evening. The account is notable because TikTok is currently banned on most US government-issued devices.

The TikTok account, with the handle “@bidenhq”, debuted on Sunday during Lunar New Year celebrations in China and Super Bowl 58 in the United States.

In late 2022, Biden signed a law banning most federally owned devices from using TikTok. This provision was part of a massive omnibus spending bill, and at the time it represented a major victory for China hawks in Congress.

Several states and New York City also followed suit, banning TikTok on government-owned devices last year, highlighting a wide range of security concerns.

TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, based in China. The company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is Singaporean and a graduate of 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 of dollars to lawmakers who want to block outright bans on the app in states.

Several US lawmakers have accused TikTok and other social media platforms of spreading content online that is harmful to children’s mental health and failing to protect children online.

Biden campaign advisers told NBC News that the TikTok account is part of an effort to meet voters where they are.

The app remains essential for young people, including those of voting age in the United States. According to Pew Research data released at the end of 2023, about a third of 18-29 year olds in the United States said they regularly receive information on TikTok, a higher share. than ever before.

Stricter regulation of social media companies, including TikTok, Meta, InstantDiscord and X (formerly Twitter) represented a rare issue of bipartisan agreement during 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 one hand, the administration has openly courted TikTok stars and content producers to help deliver public service messages and engage young people in civic events.

But as China-skeptical lawmakers have ramped up their campaign against the company in recent years, the Biden White House has tacitly accepted their views, going so far as to pressure ByteDance to sell TikTok.

CNBC’s Jonathan Vanian contributed reporting.



Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.cnbc.com

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