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Biden's campaign joins TikTok, even as administration warns of national security concerns with app

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Biden's campaign joins TikTok, even as administration warns of national security concerns with app
AP
AP
February 11, 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's 2024 campaign is now on TikTok, even though he has expressed national security concerns over the platform and banned it on federal devices.

Biden isn't expected to personally join the platform, aides said, nor the others in his administration. The account will be run entirely by the campaign team in an effort to reach voters in an ever-fragmented American population, particularly as younger voters gravitate away from traditional platforms. The inaugural post featured the president being quizzed on the Super Bowl — and included a reference to the latest political conspiracy theory centering on music superstar Taylor Swift.

Both the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission have warned that TikTok owner ByteDance could share user data — such as browsing history, location and biometric identifiers — with China’s authoritarian government. Biden in 2022 banned the use of TikTok by the federal government’s nearly 4 million employees on devices owned by its agencies, with limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes. The secretive and powerful Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has been reviewing the app for years.

Campaign officials said they were taking advanced security precautions and incorporating security protocols to ensure safety, but they did not detail the measures — or provide information on whether the measures were meant to protect campaign data or voters'.

A law implemented by China in 2017 requires companies to give the government any personal data relevant to the country’s national security. There’s no evidence that TikTok has turned over such data, but fears abound due to the vast amount of user data it, like other social media companies, collects.

Biden’s campaign said the BidenHQ account would be posting content regularly on the platform.

Biden's campaign maintains a presence on Meta's Threads, Instagram, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and Truth Social, the platform backed by Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

The president's campaign has been prioritizing social media engagements, as well as smaller events featuring the president, to reach target voters who they believe don't tune in to traditional outlets. The campaign and the White House have also stepped up outreach to social media influencers who they believe can amplify the president's message.

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