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US President Biden joins TikTok ahead of 2024 election

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a campaign rally ahead of the state's Democratic presidential primary, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. February 4, 2024. Photo/Courtesy

Washington, United States (AFP): US President Joe Biden belatedly joined TikTok on Sunday, marking his debut on the social media platform with a 26-second video.

The move comes after fierce US government criticism of the video-sharing platform in recent years, most notably from Republicans but also from the Biden administration.

TikTok is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance and has been accused by a wide swath of US politicians of being a propaganda tool used by Beijing, something the company furiously denies.

In Sunday’s video posted on the @bidenhq campaign account, the 81-year-old Democratic president touches light-heartedly on topics ranging from politics to the NFL championship game.

Asked his preference between the Super Bowl or its famed half-time show, this year headlined by singer Usher, he picks watching the actual game itself.

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Queried if there’s a secret plot to rig the game so that pop star Taylor Swift — who is dating Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce — could use her fame to endorse Biden, the president jokingly leans into the unfounded right-wing conspiracy theory.

“I’d get in trouble if I told you,” he says.

Citing security concerns, a slew of individual states and the federal government have banned the app on official government devices.

In Montana, a state government move to completely ban the app was recently blocked by a judge.

While the platform remains scrutinized by Washington, further federal action to ban or curtail use of the app appears to no longer be in motion.

“It seems now like the idea of a ban was being pushed more so to make political points and less as a serious effort to legislate,” David Greene, a civil liberties attorney, recently told British newspaper The Guardian.

As the election approaches, the platform provides a conduit to young voters.

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Sunday’s video ends with the president being asked who he prefers: himself or Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

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