Did President Biden cunningly rig the Super Bowl so the Kansas City 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-owned social media platform that has 170 million U.S. customers however few high-level American politicians.
The video then lower 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 through 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 Super Bowl on Sunday night time.
The 30-second clip featured the president dodging questions from an offscreen inquisitor.
Who would win the large sport? (He dodged and famous Jill Biden’s fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles.)
Which Kelce brother did he favor? (Again, a diplomatic response: “Mama Kelce.”)
And was he certainly answerable for an unlimited conspiracy principle 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 in some way assist his re-election marketing campaign? (Cue “Dark Brandon.” Mr. Biden additionally shared an image 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 achieve voters and that it might work by 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 units in most states and on the federal degree. Republicans particularly, but additionally Democrats and nationwide safety consultants, have raised issues 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 issues.
The Biden marketing campaign stated on Monday that it was taking “superior security precautions round our units and incorporating a classy safety protocol to make sure safety.”
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 had been on the app, and there have been no official @POTUS, White House or Biden 2024 accounts, in keeping with 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 into a supply of reports and knowledge, significantly for youthful Americans. About 14 p.c of U.S. adults stated they often received information from TikTok final 12 months, up from 3 p.c in 2020, in keeping with the Pew Research Center.
Last month, Biden marketing campaign officers celebrated when a TikTok video made by a North Carolina teenager whose residence Mr. Biden visited drew tens of millions 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 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 manager, in keeping with a marketing campaign official.
“The President’s TikTok debut final night time — with shut to five million views and counting — is proof constructive of each our dedication and success find new, progressive methods to achieve voters,” Mr. Flaherty stated.
Embracing one other meme, this one about males’s supposed fascination with historic Rome, he added: “I suppose you can say our Roman Empire is assembly voters wherever they’re.”
With one other TikTok submit on Monday, the marketing campaign signaled the kinds of points it plans to focus on 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 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.