Biden:Campaign debuts on TikTok in search of young voters – 02/12/2024 – World

Biden:Campaign debuts on TikTok in search of young voters – 02/12/2024 – World

Did President Joe Biden rig the Super Bowl so the Kansas City Chiefs would win?

“I’d get in trouble if I told you,” Biden joked in the first post of his campaign on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform that has 170 million users in the United States, albeit few of the country’s high-ranking politicians.

The video then cut to an image of the “Dark Brandon” meme — another attempt to reverse a right-wing conspiracy theory.

Biden’s arrival on TikTok and the light-hearted nature of his post pointed to his ongoing efforts to rebuild his support among young American voters.

After weeks in which his advisers had suggested he would join the platform, his campaign pressed the button on his first video during the Super Bowl on Sunday night (11).

The 30-second clip showed the president dodging questions from an off-screen interrogator.

Who would win the big game? (He avoided the question and mentioned Jill Biden’s fanaticism for the Philadelphia Eagles.)

Which Kelce brother did he prefer? (Again, a diplomatic answer: “Mama Kelce.”)

And was he responsible for a vast conspiracy theory floated by the far right that the White House and the NFL had conspired for the Chiefs to win the game and somehow help his re-election campaign? (In this, “Dark Brandon” appeared, a meme in which the president appears with a supernatural glow or red laser beams coming out of his eyes and which the White House has adhered to)

Joining TikTok is a sharp change for Biden’s re-election campaign, which had said it did not need its own TikTok account to reach voters and would work through influencers.

The move also carries a degree of risk: TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and is banned on government devices in most states and at the federal level.

Republicans especially, but also Democrats and national security experts, have raised concerns about the control China’s authoritarian regime could exert over the platform’s data and content shown to Americans. TikTok disputed these concerns.

The Biden campaign said it was taking “enhanced security precautions around our devices and incorporating sophisticated security protocol to ensure safety.”

This wariness has contributed to the reluctance of politicians and their campaigns to embrace TikTok, despite the app’s growing influence. In December, only 37 members of Congress were on the app, and there were no official @POTUS (US President), White House or Biden 2024 accounts.

Among Republican candidates, only Vivek Ramaswamy had his own account. He dropped out of the race last month.

The app, once known for viral dance videos, has increasingly become a source of news and information, especially for younger people. About 14% of American adults said they regularly got their news from TikTok last year, compared with 3% in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.

Last month, Biden campaign officials celebrated when a TikTok video made by a North Carolina teenager whose home Biden visited drew millions of views.

Whether the Biden campaign can make the 81-year-old president look cool on the platform is still an open question. In Sunday’s post, Biden wore khaki pants and a blue quarter-zip sweater, with a microphone attached to the zipper.

The questions were asked by Rob Flaherty, a deputy campaign manager, according to a campaign official.

“The president’s TikTok debut last night is proof positive of our commitment and success in finding innovative new ways to reach voters,” Flaherty said.

Embracing another meme, this one about men’s supposed fascination with ancient Rome, he added: “I suppose you could say our Roman Empire is finding voters wherever they are.”

With another TikTok post on Monday, the campaign signaled the types of issues it plans to highlight throughout the year, sharing a brief compilation of excerpts from former President Donald Trump boasting about his role in repealing Roe v. Wade. Wade, which guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion.

Although TikTok does not allow paid political advertising, several campaigns have successfully used the app to build relationships with potential voters and help win elections. Senator John Fetterman, Democrat of Pennsylvania, for example, counted TikTok among the tools he used to defeat Dr. Mehmet Oz in the 2022 midterm elections.

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