President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign unveiled its official TikTok account, marking a significant move given the platform’s restrictions on most U.S. government-owned devices. The account, under the handle “@bidenhq,” made its debut during the Lunar New Year festivities in China and the highly anticipated Super Bowl 58.
TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has faced scrutiny in the U.S., with legislation signed by Biden in 2022 prohibiting the use of the app on federal government devices. This decision was applauded by critics of Chinese influence in Congress and several states, including New York City, mirrored the ban on their government-owned devices due to security apprehensions.
Despite these concerns, TikTok remains popular among younger Americans, especially those eligible to vote. Recent Pew Research data revealed that over a third of 18-29 year olds regularly consume news on TikTok, indicating its significance as a news source for this demographic.
The Biden administration’s relationship with TikTok has been complex, balancing engagement with the platform to reach young voters while acknowledging the security and privacy concerns raised by lawmakers. Recent bipartisan efforts in Congress have highlighted the need for stricter regulations on social media platforms, including TikTok, Meta, Snap, Discord, and X (formerly Twitter), particularly in terms of child safety online.
Efforts to engage with voters through TikTok align with the administration’s goal of meeting people where they are, especially considering the platform’s popularity among the younger population. This move reflects a broader strategy to connect with voters through various digital channels and adapt to changing media consumption habits.