Biden Campaign to Continue Using TikTok Despite Security Concerns

Biden's campaign to continue using TikTok despite new law that could ban the app, highlighting complex balancing of national security and voter engagement on influential social media platforms.

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Nimrah Khatoon
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Biden Campaign to Continue Using TikTok Despite Security Concerns

Biden Campaign to Continue Using TikTok Despite Security Concerns

The Biden re-election campaign has announced that it will continue to use the popular social media app TikTok to reach voters, despite President Biden recently signing legislation that could lead to the app being banned in the U.S. within nine months. The campaign spokesperson said that a "fragmented media environment" requires them to "show up and meet voters where they are," including on TikTok, and claimed the campaign is using "enhanced security measures" on the app.

The new law, signed by President Biden on Wednesday, gives ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, nine months to divest the app or face a potential ban in the U.S. The legislation was driven by concerns over TikTok's Chinese ownership and potential security risks, with the U.S. government and Congress arguing that the app could be used by China to demand American user data or push propaganda. TikTok has pushed back against these accusations and said it will challenge the "unconstitutional law" in court.

Why this matters: The debate over TikTok reflects the broader challenges and potential risks posed by foreign-owned technology platforms in the U.S. The Biden administration's pursuit of restrictions on TikTok, even as the president's own campaign embraces the app, highlights the complex considerations around balancing national security concerns with the need to engage voters on influential social media platforms.

The Biden campaign's decision to continue using TikTok has faced criticism from some who see it as hypocritical given the administration's stance. A Republican presidential candidate urged voters to "take notice" of the "core hypocrisy" between the White House's policy and the campaign's use of the app. However, the Biden campaign has defended its approach, with an adviser stating they will continue using TikTok and arguing that it would be unwise to disregard any platform where people are obtaining information about the president.

The campaign has forged relationships with TikTok influencers and produced its own content on the platform, seeing it as a crucial way to reach younger voters. While the White House has banned TikTok on most government devices, the campaign has continued to use the app, including hosting influencer events and parties. A Democratic super PAC is also spending $1 million to fund pro-Biden content on TikTok.

The Biden campaign emphasized that TikTok is just one part of their broader digital outreach strategy, which also includes platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and a supportive influencer network. The campaign has launched a large youth voter outreach program and expects legal challenges to the new law that would ban TikTok if ByteDance does not sell the app. The White House press secretary said the legislation is about "divestment" and "protecting" Americans, not an outright ban, but acknowledged "legitimate national security concerns" with TikTok's links to the Chinese government.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden campaign to continue using TikTok despite new law that could lead to its ban in U.S.
  • New law gives TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance 9 months to divest app or face potential ban.
  • Biden campaign defends TikTok use, citing need to engage voters on influential social media platforms.
  • White House banned TikTok on most government devices but campaign continues using it.
  • Biden campaign expects legal challenges to new law and sees TikTok as crucial for reaching young voters.