Biden joins ‘Chinese spy app’ TikTok despite White House ban on federal accounts: ‘lol hey guys’

Feb 12, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

The Biden campaign unveiled its new TikTok account Sunday — just days after Republican and Democratic lawmakers jointly called on the Biden administration to blacklist TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance and two weeks after FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress the app enables the communist regime to “control data collection on millions of users.”

Critics have blasted President Joe Biden over the decision to risk additional exposure to America’s pre-eminent adversary in an admittedly self-interested bid to connect with potential voters. After all, Biden figured TikTok to be enough of a threat in recent years to ratify legislation banning millions of federal employees from using the compromised software.

“Hey by the way, we just joined TikTok,” the Biden campaign noted Sunday on X.

— (@)

The post linked to the newly created account on TikTok, which presently hosts a Super Bowl-themed interview video of the geriatric president captioned, “lol hey guys.”

Although now apparently a laughing matter, Biden ratified a spending bill in December 2022 banning the use of TikTok by millions of federal employees.

The social media platform made it an easy decision, having confirmed ahead of the bill’s signing that it spied on Western journalists. Months earlier, BuzzFeed News obtained 14 statements from TikTok employees and leaked audio from internal company meetings revealing that China-based employees of ByteDance repeatedly accessed private data about American users.

A member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department reportedly also admitted in a September 2021 meeting, “Everything is seen in China.”

The FBI and the Federal Communications Commissioned have since indicated ByteDance could share users’ browser history, locations, and biometric identifiers with the communist regime, reported the Associated Press.

A compromised TikTok would amount to an additional weapon in the arsenal of an adversary that has sent spy craft over the mainland U.S.; operated illegal police stations on American soil; threatened diplomats; dispatched agents to execute espionage and political destabilization missions; and attempted to hunt down dissenters stateside.

The company has struggled to address security and privacy concerns with its “Project Texas” operation, which allegedly keeps American user data on U.S.-based Oracle servers. However, the Wall Street Journal reported two weeks before Biden’s TikTok adoption that the social media platform continues to share data with its Chinese masters through unofficial channels.

FBI Director Wray told the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party last month that “[TikTok’s] parent company is effectively beholden to the Chinese government and that is what in turn creates a series of national security concerns in the [Chinese] government’s ability to leverage that access or that authority.”

TikTok gives Beijing the ability “to control data collection on millions of users, which could be used for all sorts of intelligence operations or influence operations,” added Biden’s FBI director.

— (@)

“I think it is a threat that is very significant,” Wray stressed ahead of the Biden campaign’s TikTok adoption.

Congressional lawmakers from both major parties noted in a Feb. 8 letter to Biden Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that “TikTok’s software engineering personnel ultimately report to ByteDance leadership in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Moreover, any ByteDance data that is viewed, stored, or that passes through China is subject to the laws of China, a one-party authoritarian state hostile to American democracy.”

“TikTok, which is legally specified as a subsidiary of ByteDance, updated its EU privacy policy in November 2022 to confirm that its staff in China have access to user data outside China to perform ‘important functions,'” continued the letter. “From a security standpoint, this means that TikTok provides the CCP with the ability to weaponize the platform by suppressing, magnifying, and otherwise constructing narratives to target specific audiences abroad.”

The Biden campaign told NBC News that its new TikTok account is “part of an effort to meet voters where they are.”

Pew Research data revealed that as of late 2023, 32% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 regularly get news from TikTok. This demographic is presently the most favorable to the deeply unpopular president, who continues to trail former President Donald Trump in the polls.

The latest Economist/YouGov polling data indicate that Biden’s job approval is 48% among the 18-29 age group — four points higher than his approval rating among the 30-44 age group and 10 points higher than among those ages 45 and older.

TikTok may be welcome stomping grounds for the Democratic president for reasons other than demographics.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) asked FBI Director Wray during a congressional hearing last month, “If the CCP were to want to change TIkTok feeds to bias one candidate or another in the upcoming presidential election, would they be able to do so?”

Wray answered, “My understanding is that under Chinese law that would be something that they would be permitted to do.”

Following the Biden campaign’s TikTok announcement Sunday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote, “Biden campaign bragging about using a Chinese spy app even though Biden signed a law banning it on all federal devices.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote, “Panic is when the Biden campaign joins TikTok after the White House banned the app from devices a year ago.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) tweeted, “Hey @joebiden, you’ve done a lot of dumb things over the last 3 years. Handing your data over to China may be the dumbest.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) said he was not “surprised President Biden has just joined #TikTok — a company that steals our private information & hands it over to the Communist Party of #China. Biden plays for #TeamCCP, not #TeamUSA.”

“Nothing like giving the CCP all the data from a Presidential campaign,” wrote Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.). “Open invitation for election influence!”

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The Biden campaign unveiled its new TikTok account Sunday — just days after Republican and Democratic lawmakers jointly called on the Biden administration to blacklist TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance and two weeks after FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress the app enables the communist regime to “control data collection on millions of users.”

Critics have blasted President Joe Biden over the decision to risk additional exposure to America’s pre-eminent adversary in an admittedly self-interested bid to connect with potential voters. After all, Biden figured TikTok to be enough of a threat in recent years to ratify legislation banning millions of federal employees from using the compromised software.

“Hey by the way, we just joined TikTok,” the Biden campaign noted Sunday on X.

— (@)

The post linked to the newly created account on TikTok, which presently hosts a Super Bowl-themed interview video of the geriatric president captioned, “lol hey guys.”

Although now apparently a laughing matter, Biden ratified a spending bill in December 2022 banning the use of TikTok by millions of federal employees.

The social media platform made it an easy decision, having confirmed ahead of the bill’s signing that it spied on Western journalists. Months earlier, BuzzFeed News obtained 14 statements from TikTok employees and leaked audio from internal company meetings revealing that China-based employees of ByteDance repeatedly accessed private data about American users.

A member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department reportedly also admitted in a September 2021 meeting, “Everything is seen in China.”

The FBI and the Federal Communications Commissioned have since indicated ByteDance could share users’ browser history, locations, and biometric identifiers with the communist regime, reported the Associated Press.

A compromised TikTok would amount to an additional weapon in the arsenal of an adversary that has sent spy craft over the mainland U.S.; operated illegal police stations on American soil; threatened diplomats; dispatched agents to execute espionage and political destabilization missions; and attempted to hunt down dissenters stateside.

The company has struggled to address security and privacy concerns with its “Project Texas” operation, which allegedly keeps American user data on U.S.-based Oracle servers. However, the Wall Street Journal reported two weeks before Biden’s TikTok adoption that the social media platform continues to share data with its Chinese masters through unofficial channels.

FBI Director Wray told the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party last month that “[TikTok’s] parent company is effectively beholden to the Chinese government and that is what in turn creates a series of national security concerns in the [Chinese] government’s ability to leverage that access or that authority.”

TikTok gives Beijing the ability “to control data collection on millions of users, which could be used for all sorts of intelligence operations or influence operations,” added Biden’s FBI director.

— (@)

“I think it is a threat that is very significant,” Wray stressed ahead of the Biden campaign’s TikTok adoption.

Congressional lawmakers from both major parties noted in a Feb. 8 letter to Biden Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that “TikTok’s software engineering personnel ultimately report to ByteDance leadership in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Moreover, any ByteDance data that is viewed, stored, or that passes through China is subject to the laws of China, a one-party authoritarian state hostile to American democracy.”

“TikTok, which is legally specified as a subsidiary of ByteDance, updated its EU privacy policy in November 2022 to confirm that its staff in China have access to user data outside China to perform ‘important functions,'” continued the letter. “From a security standpoint, this means that TikTok provides the CCP with the ability to weaponize the platform by suppressing, magnifying, and otherwise constructing narratives to target specific audiences abroad.”

The Biden campaign told NBC News that its new TikTok account is “part of an effort to meet voters where they are.”

Pew Research data revealed that as of late 2023, 32% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 regularly get news from TikTok. This demographic is presently the most favorable to the deeply unpopular president, who continues to trail former President Donald Trump in the polls.

The latest Economist/YouGov polling data indicate that Biden’s job approval is 48% among the 18-29 age group — four points higher than his approval rating among the 30-44 age group and 10 points higher than among those ages 45 and older.

TikTok may be welcome stomping grounds for the Democratic president for reasons other than demographics.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) asked FBI Director Wray during a congressional hearing last month, “If the CCP were to want to change TIkTok feeds to bias one candidate or another in the upcoming presidential election, would they be able to do so?”

Wray answered, “My understanding is that under Chinese law that would be something that they would be permitted to do.”

Following the Biden campaign’s TikTok announcement Sunday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote, “Biden campaign bragging about using a Chinese spy app even though Biden signed a law banning it on all federal devices.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote, “Panic is when the Biden campaign joins TikTok after the White House banned the app from devices a year ago.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) tweeted, “Hey @joebiden, you’ve done a lot of dumb things over the last 3 years. Handing your data over to China may be the dumbest.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) said he was not “surprised President Biden has just joined #TikTok — a company that steals our private information & hands it over to the Communist Party of #China. Biden plays for #TeamCCP, not #TeamUSA.”

“Nothing like giving the CCP all the data from a Presidential campaign,” wrote Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.). “Open invitation for election influence!”

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