Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Tech Government by TikTok

Government by TikTok

Tom Richardson looks at the current US governments increasing use of social media, specifically TikTok.
2 mins read
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Photo via The White House

Last week the President made his debut on TikTok, with a video captioned “lol hey guys”. Despite the light-hearted messaging, this has raised concerns by many over the use of TikTok by the Campaign, a platform which the FBI Director has said poses “national security concerns”. In 2022, The President himself was signatory to the Non TikTok on Government Devices Act, which banned the use of the app on federal government devices due to ongoing national security implications regarding the app’s owner, ByteDance, a tech company based in Beijing, China. 

He was asked in the video whether he was supporting the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers, two teams competing in the Super Bowl final, the President said he’d be ‘sleeping alone’ if he didn’t say the Philadelphia Eagles as “my wife’s a Philly girl”. 

Whilst the TikTok account, @bidenhq, is ran by his campaign rather than the President himself or government officials, many perceive it as an endorsement of the safety of TikTok, contrasting with last year when Biden threatened to ban the social media platform if it wasn’t sold to a non-China owned company. 

Critics of the move have raised concerns about national security, but also that the campaign team for Biden are now posting TikTok videos after the President banned four million federal employees from using it. The Chair of the CCP Select Committee Rep. Mike Gallagher stated Biden national security officials have “warned (Biden) that TikTok is a national security threat”. Biden’s advisors are telling him “that this is effectively a CCP tool or weapon and yet he is ignoring that.” Democratic senator Mark Warner, Chair of the Intelligence Committee said he was a “little worried about a mixed message.” Warner said that he still “thinks we still need find a way to follow India, which has prohibited TikTok,” sharing concerns about the national security threats the platform poses. 

National security officials have “warned Biden that TikTok is a national security threat.”

Some instead argue that it is an effective way to target young voters. TikTok is used primarily by young people, a demographic which the President is struggling with, with more and more younger voters becoming disillusioned with the Biden Administration. Despite 65% of the demographic voting for him in 2020, several polls suggest this is now around 40%. Therefore, for the campaign, connecting with a key demographic is imperative for winning the next election. 

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