Divest-or-Ban Law Shocks Influencers on TikTok Promoting Pro-Biden Content

Divest-or-Ban Law Shocks Influencers on TikTok Promoting Pro-Biden Content

Following his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden made his way back to the White House, where he was met with enthusiastic applause from administrative employees gathered on the mansion’s back porch. Awa Sanneh, a 23-year-old TikTok influencer, was among them.

Sanneh, who was one of the dozens of artists invited to a watch party that evening, said that Biden had informed the group “how important” social media material is to reach Gen-Z voters.

A few weeks later, Biden signed a bill into law requiring Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., the parent firm of TikTok, to sell its shares or risk being blocked from US app stores. The social media creators have been shaken by this, since his campaign has taken extraordinary legal action.

“I’m pretty critical of him at this moment in time,” said Sanneh, who has attended multiple administration briefings and has more than 510,000 followers. “If you truly understood the impact, then you would want to keep TikTok.”

Biden’s support for the divestment-or-ban bill is indicative of his attempts to restrain what both Democrats and administration officials see to be an increasing Chinese danger to national security. 

Influencers contacted by Bloomberg News did not claim that Biden had lost their support. Younger voters, who have helped the app gain mainstream prominence and are essential to Democratic election victories, are expected to be turned off by the new law. Numerous people are already disinterested in Biden’s reelection.

The bill’s opponents claim it violates free speech rights and favors the social media company over other companies that gather user data.

ByteDance has stated that it has no plans to sell, and a drawn-out court dispute is probably ahead. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is already courting younger people by raising the possibility of a ban. He accused Biden of putting the restriction in place in a social media post made prior to the legislation passing Congress. That represented a turnabout for Trump, who as president issued an app ban in 2020 that was subsequently rejected by a judge.

In an unprecedented effort for a presidential administration, Biden’s advisors communicate with social media influencers or their managers on a daily basis. Per a source familiar with the discussions, campaign officials are thinking of inviting innovators into their headquarters.

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