Did President Biden cunningly rig the Super Bowl so the Kansas City Chiefs would win?
“I’d get in trouble if I told you,” Mr. Biden joked in his marketing campaign’s inaugural put up on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform that has 170 million U.S. customers however few high-level American politicians.
The video then minimize to a picture of the “Dark Brandon” meme — one other try from the marketing campaign to flip a right-wing conspiracy concept on its head.
Mr. Biden’s arrival to TikTok, and the lighthearted nature of his put up, pointed to his ongoing makes an attempt to rebuild his assist amongst younger voters. After weeks wherein aides had floated that he would be part of the platform, his marketing campaign pushed the button on its first video in the course of the Super Bowl on Sunday evening.
The 30-second clip featured the president dodging questions from an offscreen inquisitor.
Who would win the massive recreation? (He dodged and famous Jill Biden’s fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles.)
Which Kelce brother did he desire? (Again, a diplomatic response: “Mama Kelce.”)
And was he certainly answerable for an unlimited conspiracy concept floated on the far proper positing that the White House and the N.F.L. had colluded so the Chiefs would win the sport and one way or the other assist his re-election marketing campaign? (Cue “Dark Brandon.” Mr. Biden additionally shared a picture of the meme on X shortly after the sport, writing, “Just like we drew it up.”)
Joining TikTok is a pointy pivot for the Biden re-election marketing campaign, which had formally maintained that it didn’t want its personal TikTok account to succeed in voters and that it will work by means of influencers as an alternative.
The transfer additionally carries some extent of danger: TikTok is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance and is banned on authorities gadgets in most states and on the federal stage. Republicans particularly, but in addition Democrats and nationwide safety specialists, have raised considerations in regards to the management China’s authoritarian authorities might wield over the platform’s knowledge and content material confirmed to Americans. TikTok has pushed again on these considerations.
The Biden marketing campaign mentioned on Monday that it was taking “advanced safety precautions around our devices and incorporating a sophisticated security protocol to ensure security.”
Such warning in regards to the platform has contributed to the reluctance of politicians and their campaigns to hitch TikTok, regardless of the app’s rising affect. As of December, simply 37 sitting members of Congress have been on the app, and there have been no official @POTUS, White House or Biden 2024 accounts, in response to an evaluation by The New York Times.
Among the Republican presidential candidates, solely Vivek Ramaswamy had his personal account. He dropped out of the race final month.
The app, as soon as recognized for viral dance movies, has more and more turn out to be a supply of stories and data, significantly for youthful Americans. About 14 p.c of U.S. adults mentioned they often obtained information from TikTok final 12 months, up from 3 p.c in 2020, in response to the Pew Research Center.
Last month, Biden marketing campaign officers celebrated when a TikTok video made by a North Carolina teenager whose dwelling Mr. Biden visited drew hundreds of thousands of views on the platform.
Whether the Biden marketing campaign could make the 81-year-old president look cool on the platform stays an open query. In the Sunday put up, Mr. Biden wore khaki pants and a blue quarter-zip sweater with a microphone clipped to the zipper. The questions got here from Rob Flaherty, a deputy marketing campaign supervisor, in response to a marketing campaign official.
“The President’s TikTok debut last night — with close to 5 million views and counting — is proof positive of both our commitment and success in finding new, innovative ways to reach voters,” Mr. Flaherty mentioned.
Embracing one other meme, this one about males’s supposed fascination with historic Rome, he added: “I suppose you could say our Roman Empire is meeting voters wherever they are.”
With one other TikTok put up on Monday, the marketing campaign signaled the forms of points it plans to spotlight all 12 months, sharing a brief compilation of clips of former President Donald J. Trump boasting of his function within the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
While TikTok doesn’t permit paid political promoting, a number of campaigns have efficiently used the app to construct a rapport with potential voters and to assist win races. Senator John Fetterman, Democrat of Pennsylvania, for instance, counted TikTok among the many instruments he used to beat Dr. Mehmet Oz within the 2022 midterm elections.