Did President Biden cunningly rig the Tremendous Bowl so the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs would win?
“I’d get in bother if I instructed you,” Mr. Biden joked in his marketing campaign’s inaugural submit on TikTok, the Chinese language-owned social media platform that has 170 million U.S. customers however few high-level American politicians.
The video then reduce to a picture of the “Dark Brandon” meme — one other try from the marketing campaign to flip a right-wing conspiracy principle on its head.
Mr. Biden’s arrival to TikTok, and the lighthearted nature of his submit, pointed to his ongoing makes an attempt to rebuild his help amongst younger voters. After weeks by which aides had floated that he would be a part of the platform, his marketing campaign pushed the button on its first video in the course of the Tremendous Bowl on Sunday night time.
The 30-second clip featured the president dodging questions from an offscreen inquisitor.
Who would win the large recreation? (He dodged and famous Jill Biden’s fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles.)
Which Kelce brother did he want? (Once more, a diplomatic response: “Mama Kelce.”)
And was he certainly accountable for an enormous conspiracy principle floated on the far right positing that the White Home and the N.F.L. had colluded so the Chiefs would win the sport and by some means assist his re-election marketing campaign? (Cue “Darkish Brandon.” Mr. Biden additionally shared an image of the meme on X shortly after the sport, writing, “Identical to we drew it up.”)
Becoming a member of 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 might work via influencers as an alternative.
The transfer additionally carries some extent of danger: TikTok is owned by the Chinese language firm ByteDance and is banned on authorities gadgets in most states and on the federal stage. Republicans particularly, but additionally Democrats and nationwide safety consultants, have raised issues in regards to the management China’s authoritarian authorities may wield over the platform’s information and content material confirmed to Individuals. TikTok has pushed again on these issues.
The Biden marketing campaign stated on Monday that it was taking “superior security precautions round our gadgets and incorporating a complicated safety protocol to make sure safety.”
Such warning in regards to the platform has contributed to the reluctance of politicians and their campaigns to join TikTok, regardless of the app’s rising affect. As of December, simply 37 sitting members of Congress had been on the app, and there have been no official @POTUS, White Home or Biden 2024 accounts, in response to an evaluation by The New York Occasions.
Among the many Republican presidential candidates, solely Vivek Ramaswamy had his personal account. He dropped out of the race final month.
The app, as soon as identified for viral dance movies, has more and more develop into a supply of stories and data, significantly for youthful Individuals. About 14 p.c of U.S. adults stated they often bought information from TikTok final 12 months, up from 3 p.c in 2020, according to the Pew Analysis Heart.
Final month, marketing campaign officers celebrated when a TikTok video made by a North Carolina teenager whose house Mr. Biden visited drew millions of views on the platform.
Whether or not the Biden marketing campaign could make the 81-year-old president look cool on the platform stays an open query. Within the Sunday submit, 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 submit had obtained 4.5 million views by Monday morning, in response to TikTok.
Whereas TikTok doesn’t enable 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.