Updated February 13th, 2024 at 10:10 IST

Biden Campaign's TikTok Debut Sparks National Security Concerns

"I think that we still need to find a way to follow India, which has prohibited TikTok," said chair of US Senate Intelligence Committee.

Sagar Kar
US President Joe Biden and TikTok. | Image:AP
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The decision by President Joe Biden's reelection campaign to join TikTok has raised eyebrows and ignited debates over national security implications, as concerns persist about the Chinese-owned app's handling of user data.

Using the high-profile platform of the Super Bowl, Biden's campaign unveiled its TikTok account on Sunday, aiming to engage with young voters in the lead-up to the November presidential election.

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We need to find a way to follow India, says Democratic Senator

However, the move has drawn scrutiny from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, with the chair of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, expressing apprehension about the decision.

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"I think that we still need to find a way to follow India, which has prohibited TikTok," Warner remarked, highlighting ongoing concerns about the app's potential ties to the Chinese government. “I’m a little worried about a mixed message," he said.

Here is what you need to know

Indeed, TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has been under review in the US over national security concerns. Some lawmakers have even advocated for a ban on the app, citing fears that user data could be accessed by the Chinese government or that the app could be used for influence operations.

Despite assurances from TikTok that it does not share US user data with the Chinese government and its efforts to bolster privacy protections, skepticism persists.

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Biden's odd stance on TikTok

The Biden administration's stance on TikTok remains confusing, with White House spokesperson John Kirby reiterating that "national security concerns" regarding the app are still relevant. Government agencies were directed last year to remove TikTok from federal government-owned devices.

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At the same time, the Biden campaign emphasising its commitment to reaching voters across various social media platforms, including TikTok. The campaign asserted that it has implemented "advanced safety precautions" for its devices and maintains a separate security posture from TikTok's ongoing review process.

The campaign's decision to join TikTok underscores the complex intersection of politics, technology, and national security, as candidates seek to leverage digital platforms to engage with voters while navigating concerns about data privacy and foreign influence.

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 10:10 IST