US President Joe Biden appeared on TikTok on Sunday.
A newly created account posted a video of the president with the text “very funny Hello guys” – or “Hi guys.”
The account is not managed by Biden himself, but rather by employees working with his election campaign.
The campaign will continue to meet voters where they are, says Rob Flaherty, head of digital strategy at the White House, in a statement.
In the video, which has received more than 5.6 million viewers so far, the president answers questions about which team he supports during the Super Bowl, among other things.
He was also asked about the much-talked-about conspiracy theory surrounding Taylor Swift's role in the election campaign.
“I'll get in trouble if I tell you something,” Biden joked.
Banned on service phones
The president's presence on the app sparked reactions. Especially since the app is banned on most public service phones in the United States.
Republican Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, was not as generous in her criticism:
– Joe Biden You've done a lot of stupid things in the last three years. Giving your information to China is probably one of the stupidest things, she wrote X.
White House spokesman John Kirby said Monday that “nothing has changed” when it comes to using TikTok from a security perspective, Reuters wrote.
The Biden campaign team also says it took “advanced precautions” to secure the devices the app was installed on.
Last year, sources in the Biden administration denied this nbc That they will use TikTok during the election campaign.
The country has also considered it several times Imposing a complete ban on the application.
The background is that TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Many are concerned that the app may share user data with Chinese authorities.
The US Department of Defense has cited the app as a potential security threat.
– Standing in a dilemma
– Biden's presence on TikTok demonstrates very well the power of the TikTok platform, Vilde Schanke Sundet tells NRK.
She is a researcher in the Department of Media and Communication and an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Oslo.
Sandet explains that criticisms of the app are twofold. The first is about privacy and security.
At the same time, TikTok is criticized for being a platform associated with harmful content, where the algorithms can contribute to unwanted body pressure and hate speech.
– Biden now faces a rather big dilemma, as he wants to criticize TikTok and at the same time use it himself in the election campaign. Because he sees how important it is to be on the platform where young voters are.
Young voices have taken much of the credit for the Democratic rise in recent years. American to examine It showed that a fifth of Gen Z received political information from TikTok in 2022.
Sandet says it's too early to say how influential TikTok will be politically, but there's no doubt it's the platform that reaches the most young people.
– Most people visit multiple platforms, but the most intense consumption is on TikTok, which is also interest-based. So, if you have something to say, it's not an unimportant platform to be on.
However, Sandet does not believe that the president's campaign account will pose a risk to the country's security.
– It can be easily solved by using another phone for the app.
Humor as a tool
Biden has repeatedly embraced humor and Internet culture in an attempt to reach young voters. The profile picture on the TikTok account shows an image of the president with a laser eye — a reference to the meme “Dark Brandon.”
The choice is not accidental, says Sandet.
-There are only three videos so far, but the humor is present in all three. After all, this has been a proven step, and there are plenty of them on TikTok as well.
– All platforms have their own language, and this is not his personal account, but rather an election campaign account to mobilize voters before the elections. If they had posted a regular letter or press conference, it probably wouldn't have worked so well.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”