- On Friday, Virginia-based news website Axios — citing two anonymous sources — reported that US Pres. Joe Biden's re-election campaign is considering joining the social media platform TikTok in order to appeal more to young voters.1
- The alleged talks come after the Biden administration banned the app from being used on federal devices in February.2
- The platform, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has sparked data and privacy concerns, with officials warning that the app may share user information with the Chinese government — allegations that TikTok has repeatedly denied.3
- Other than GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, Republicans have largely stayed away from the app over the security concerns, but several high-profile Democrats — including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — are present on the platform.4
- Recent polls have shown Biden to be lacking in support from those under the age of 30, with a survey by Axios finding that nearly 32% of adults under 30 receive their political news from TikTok.4
- Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Biden campaign criticized the report on X, writing, 'This is not a scoop.' He added that many ideas are broached during campaign talks, with some coming to fruition while many others fall through.2
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Politico. It is the job of politicians to meet the people where they are, and TikTok could potentially be a great tool to reach out to a new demographic of voters and ensure that they are getting their political information straight from the source. While there are risks associated with being on the app, implementing the proper safeguards significantly reduces them. Regardless, Axios' premature 'scoop' should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Republican narrative, as provided by Fox news. Faced with troubling numbers in recent polling, it would be no surprise if Biden's campaign joined TikTok — a move that would not only be hypocritical in light of the administration's recent ban but also dangerous. While the details of this report have yet to be verified, it speaks to the wider issue of using the Chinese-owned app on the campaign trail.