On February 11th, local time, the campaign team of US President Biden collaborated with the short video application TikTok to create a new account before this year’s November presidential election. They aimed to attract support from young voters by leveraging the momentum of the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), commonly known as the Super Bowl.
Due to the scrutiny launched by the United States on TikTok, an application owned by the Chinese technology giant ByteDance, citing so-called “national security concerns,” and continuous pressure from some American politicians to ban the app, Biden’s team’s move on the TikTok platform has attracted attention.
According to Reuters, Biden’s campaign advisors stated in a statement that Biden “will continue to connect with voters where they are (on social media),” including on Instagram, owned by Meta Platform, as well as other social media platforms such as “Truth Social,” owned by former US President Trump.
A campaign official from the Biden team added that they are taking “advanced security precautions” for their devices, claiming that their TikTok account and the ongoing security review of the application are separate.
The newly created TikTok account by the Biden team has released a video with the theme of the Super Bowl, in which Biden answers a series of “either-or” questions. The Hill pointed out that this indicates his desire to win over young voters in his re-election campaign.
This 30-second video shows Biden watching the Super Bowl at home, with a caption jokingly saying, ‘Hey by the way.’
In response to a question from an off-camera staff member, Biden refused to take sides between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, revealing his own preference and expressing support for the Philadelphia Eagles, hometown of First Lady Jill Biden. When asked if he was “secretly manipulating this season’s games to ensure a win for the Kansas City Chiefs,” Biden jokingly said, “If I told you that, I’d be in trouble.”
Reuters reported that the video released by Biden aims to refute a conservative conspiracy theory claiming that the Super Bowl was manipulated to favor the Kansas City Chiefs, coincidentally, Travis Kelce, the boyfriend of renowned American singer Taylor Swift, plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not long ago, the American New York Times revealed that President Biden is seeking Taylor Swift’s endorsement before the November election this year, as he is at a disadvantage in the opinion polls. Her 280 million followers on Instagram are extremely important. As for the final result of this year’s Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in overtime and successfully defended their championship.
At the end of the video, Biden also laughed off a question – whether he would vote for himself or former President Trump. As expected, he smiled and said, “Are you kidding me? (Of course it’s) Biden.”
As of the early morning of February 12th local time, the TikTok account created by the Biden team has approximately 33,000 followers. President Biden’s official Twitter account also retweeted the news about his TikTok account. Meanwhile, Republican Donald Trump currently does not have an official TikTok account.
Reuters pointed out that in February of last year, the White House had requested government agencies to ensure within 30 days the disabling of TikTok, a social media application, on their federal devices and systems. Reuters saw in the guidance memorandum issued by Shalanda Young, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the White House, that it stated all federal agencies must delete TikTok from mobile phones and systems and prohibit internet traffic connecting to this application in order to safeguard American data security.
In this regard, TikTok has previously stated clearly that it will not share the data of American users and has taken substantial measures to protect user privacy. As for the latest move by the Biden team to open an account, TikTok has not yet responded to requests for comment.
In fact, the US government’s so-called “national security threat debate” regarding TikTok began in 2020 when the Trump administration attempted to force TikTok to sell. According to American media outlet Axios, TikTok is currently one of the most popular mobile applications in the United States, with over 150 million monthly active users locally. At the same time, numerous members of Congress are pushing for bipartisan efforts to ban TikTok in the US and conduct a review.
And from last year to now, in multiple US congressional hearings attended by TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, some American lawmakers have taken turns creating panic about the relationship between TikTok and China. They spare no effort in exaggerating the argument that data obtained by TikTok may fall into the hands of the Chinese government. While interrogating Shou Zi Chew, they do not give him a chance to provide a complete answer and instead adopt a condescending tone.
These politicians constantly raise astonishing questions that are out of touch with the “Internet era”: such as whether applications “need to access WiFi”, “how to determine user age”, “why TikTok sunglasses filters need to know eye positions”… There are also anti-China politicians who, despite knowing that Shou Zi Chew is Singaporean, persistently and maliciously interrogate his nationality and identity, thereby provoking public anger.
Regarding the issue of TikTok, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning previously stated that China has taken note of TikTok’s relevant statements. The Chinese government attaches great importance to and legally protects data privacy and security. It has never required companies or individuals to collect or provide data, information, and intelligence located outside of China in violation of local laws. The U.S. government has yet to provide any evidence proving that TikTok poses a threat to national security but continues to make “presumption of guilt” and unjust suppression against related companies.
“We have noticed that some members of the U.S. Congress have expressed that seeking to ban TikTok is politically motivated persecution.” Mao Ning stated that the U.S. should genuinely respect market economy and fair competition principles, cease unjust suppression of foreign enterprises, and provide an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory environment for businesses from all countries to invest and operate in the United States.