The Biden campaign launched an official TikTok account for the first time, but the app remains blocked on most government devices


US President Joe Biden arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, US, on February 7, 2024.

Evelyn Hochstein | Reuters

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign launched an official TikTok account on Sunday evening. The account is noteworthy because TikTok is currently banned on most US government-issued devices.

The TikTok account, named “@bidenhq,” debuted on Sunday during Lunar New Year celebrations in China and Super Bowl 58 in the United States.

In late 2022, Biden signed legislation banning most federally owned devices from using TikTok. This provision was part of a comprehensive spending bill, and at the time represented a major win for China hawks in Congress.

Several states and New York City also followed suit, banning TikTok on government-owned devices last year, citing a wide range of security concerns.

TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, which is based in China. The company’s CEO, Xu Zi Chiu, is a Singaporean and a graduate of Harvard Business School.

One of the largest outside investors in TikTok is Susquehanna International Group. The company’s billionaire co-founder, Jeffrey Yass, has Donated millions For lawmakers who want to outright ban the app in the United States.

Several US lawmakers have accused TikTok, and other social media platforms, of spreading online content that harms children’s mental health and failing to protect children online.

Biden campaign advisers told NBC News that the TikTok account is part of an effort to meet voters where they are.

The app remains essential for young people, including those of voting age in the United States according to Pew Research According to data released in late 2023, about a third of 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States said they regularly get news on TikTok, a higher share than ever before.

Stricter regulation of social media companies including TikTok, dead, popDiscord and X (formerly Twitter) represented a rare case of bipartisan agreement during a Senate hearing on child safety last month.

The Biden White House has continued its love-hate relationship with TikTok since Biden took office. On the one hand, the administration has publicly courted TikTok stars and content producers to help spread public service messages and engage youth in civic events.

But as China-skeptical lawmakers have stepped up their campaign against the company in recent years, the Biden White House has tacitly agreed with them, going so far as to pressure ByteDance to sell TikTok.

Social media executives testify at child safety hearing

CNBC’s Jonathan Vanian contributed reporting.

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