Biden Administration Joins TikTok, Despite Security Concerns

Security worries surround the upcoming US presidential election, but none less so than a decision this week by Joe Biden’s presidential election campaign.

In an apparent attempt to connect with younger voters, Biden’s presidential election campaign has created an official account on TikTok, and gained over 67,000 followers within the first 24 hours.

The decision to create an official TikTok account is noteworthy as it comes despite US national security concerns about the China-owned app. Indeed, TikTok is banned on many US government devices.

TikTik account

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign launched the official TikTok account Sunday evening, with the handle @bidenhq.

Biden campaign advisors reportedly told NBC News the TikTok account is part of an effort to meet voters where they are – i.e. the move is aimed at younger voters.

TikTok it should be remembered is popular among the younger generation. Indeed, Pew Research revealed in late 2023, about a third of 18-29 year olds in the US said they regularly get news on TikTok, a higher share than ever before.

But the move has prompted concern due to the ongoing national security worries, that has seen the app banned on many government devices across the United States.

Indeed, TikTok (owned by Beijing-based ByteDance) is already been banned on government devices in 34 out of 50 US states, as well as the entire US federal government, over concerns data collected by the app could be accessed by Chinese authorities. Some lawmakers are seeking a nationwide ban.

National security

Meanwhile Montana in May 2023 became the first US state to pass a ban on TikTok that prevents app stores from distributing the app in the state from 1 January, 2024.

In November 2023 US District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction to block that Montana ban on the Chinese-owned app, saying the state ban “violates the Constitution in more ways than one” and “oversteps state power.”

But Montana is appealing that decision by the US judge in November.

The White House has been drawn into the debate about the TikTok account for President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

White House spokesperson John Kirby was quoted by Reuters on Monday as saying that nothing has changed about TikTok use from a national security perspective.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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