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Biden campaign team joins TikTok despite U.S. threats to ban it


TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration, August 22, 2022. /Reuters
TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration, August 22, 2022. /Reuters

TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration, August 22, 2022. /Reuters

Nothing has changed about TikTok use from a national security perspective, White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday after U.S. President Joe Biden's reelection campaign launched an account on the short-form video platform to reach young voters.

Kirby said "Nothing's changed about the national security concerns, from the (National Security Council) perspective, about the use of TikTok on government devices. That policy is still in place."

The U.S. Treasury-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in March 2023 demanded that TikTok's Chinese owners sell their shares, or face the possibility of the app's being banned, but the administration has taken no action.

Biden's reelection campaign joined short-form video app TikTok on Sunday, using the NFL's Super Bowl to kick off its new account to reach young voters ahead of the presidential election in November.

The campaign's launch on TikTok is notable given that the app, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, is under review in the U.S. for potential national security concerns. Some U.S. lawmakers have long called for the app to be banned over concerns that the Chinese government could access user data or influence what people see on the app.

Last year, the Biden administration ordered government agencies to remove TikTok from federal government-owned phones and devices.

TikTok has maintained that it would not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy of its users.

Biden campaign advisors said in a statement it would "continue meeting voters where they are," including on other social media apps like Meta Platform's Instagram and Truth Social, which is owned by former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The campaign is taking "advanced safety precautions" for its devices and its presence on TikTok was separate from the app's ongoing security review, a campaign official added.

Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the presidential race, does not have an official account on TikTok.

The video posted by the Biden-Harris HQ TikTok account made light of a fringe conservative conspiracy theory that the Super Bowl was rigged in favor of the Chiefs, in order for pop superstar Taylor Swift, who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, to announce an endorsement of Biden.

Amid rapid-fire questions asking the president to choose from one of two options, Biden was asked if he was "deviously plotting to rig the season so the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl" or whether the Chiefs were simply just a good football team.

"I'd get in trouble if I told you," Biden joked. 

By Monday night, the Biden campaign now has more than 57,000 followers on TikTok.

(With input from agencies)

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