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Biden’s TikTok Debut Sparks Bipartisan Criticism: ‘A Spy App For The Chinese Communist Party’

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The decision of President Joe Biden‘s campaign to join TikTok has sparked bipartisan criticism, with lawmakers expressing concerns about national security and data privacy.

What Happened: The Biden campaign’s move to join the video-based social media platform TikTok has drawn criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, reported The Hill on Monday.

Republican senators, including Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), have criticized the decision, citing data privacy and national security concerns about TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. Cotton labeled TikTok “A spy all for the Chinese Communist Party” on X, formerly Twitter.

See Also: TikTok Turns Political Arena As Indonesia’s Candidates Make ‘Content’ For Gen Z Votes

Ernst pointed out that Biden had signed legislation in December 2022, banning TikTok from federal government devices, and criticized the campaign’s decision to use the platform. 

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) expressed concerns about the national security implications of the decision.

“I think at the end of the day, the Chinese Communist Party can not only get access to the data, but also, more importantly, can potentially drive the algorithms in terms of what you’re seeing. I’m a little worried about a mixed message.”

Warner, chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) last year, granting the Department of Commerce authority to scrutinize and potentially prohibit technologies, like TikTok, linked with foreign governments.

During Monday’s briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre affirmed the White House’s backing for Warner and Thune’s bill.

John Kirby, currently acting as the White House national security communications adviser, has also reiterated that TikTok remains prohibited on government devices.

“Nothing’s changed about the national security concerns from the [National Security Council’s] perspective about the use of TikTok on government devices,” Kirby said. “That policy is still in place.”

Why It Matters: The Biden campaign’s decision to join TikTok comes amid a strategic shift to engage with younger voters. This move is particularly significant given that Biden has been trailing Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump in election polls.

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The Biden campaign’s use of TikTok is a notable contrast to the stance taken by the Trump administration and Trump himself, who have both raised concerns about TikTok’s Chinese owners.

However, in September last year, Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy announced his intention to use the platform to connect with young voters, although he has now decided to exit the race and throw support behind Trump. 

The move also comes at a time when Biden has been facing scrutiny over his age and mental fitness, with a recent poll showing that many Americans favor Trump over Biden in terms of handling the U.S. economy.

Photo via Shutterstock.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Consumer Tech coverage by following this link.

Read Next: Trump Vs. Biden: Ex-President Matches His Biggest Lead In 2024 Poll, 2 Critical Issues Could Be Influencing Voters

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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