US President Joe Biden arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States, on February 7, 2024.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
President Joe Biden's reelection campaign launched an official TikTok account Sunday night. The account is noteworthy because TikTok is currently banned on most US government-issued devices.
The TikTok account, with the name “@bidenhq,” debuted on Sunday during the Lunar New Year celebrations in China and Super Bowl 58 in the United States.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In late 2022, Biden signed legislation banning most devices owned by the federal government from using TikTok. The provision was part of a huge overall spending bill and, at the time, represented a major victory for China hawks in Congress.
Several states and New York City also followed suit, banning TikTok on government-owned devices last year, pointing to a wide range of security concerns.
TikTok's parent company is ByteDance, based in China. The company's CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is Singaporean and a graduate of Harvard Business School.
One of TikTok's largest outside investors is Susquehanna International Group. The company's billionaire co-founder, Jeffrey Yass, has donated millions to lawmakers who want to block an outright ban on the app in the states.
Several US lawmakers have accused TikTok and other social media platforms of spreading online content that has been harmful to children's mental health and of failing to protect children online.
Biden campaign advisers told NBC News that the TikTok account is part of an effort to reach voters where they are.
The app remains essential for young people, including those of voting age in the U.S. According to Pew Research data released in late 2023, about a third of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. Americans said they receive news regularly on TikTok, a higher proportion than ever before.
Tighter regulation of social media companies, including TikTok, Goal, BreakDiscord and X (formerly Twitter) represented a rare topic of bipartisan agreement during a Senate hearing on child safety last month.
The Biden White House has had a love-hate relationship with TikTok since Biden took office. On the one hand, the administration openly courted TikTok stars and content producers to help spread public service messages and engage young people in civic events.
But as China-skeptical lawmakers stepped up their campaign against the company in recent years, the Biden White House tacitly agreed with them, going so far as to pressure ByteDance to sell TikTok.
— CNBC's Jonathan Vanian contributed reporting.