Joe Biden is facing an awkward decision about how to win back young voters who have soured on the president.

Biden’s reelection campaign has yet to join TikTok, but with the president continuing to lose support among young Americans, his campaign may change its social media strategy and embrace the app, which his administration has sought to regulate and has already banned from government devices.

A new NBC News poll released Sunday found that in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Biden trails Donald Trump by 4 percentage points among voters aged 18 to 36.—an age group that has historically shown up for Biden and the Democrats. Exit polls show that in the 2020 election, Biden won voters aged 18 to 29 by more than 20 points. Young voters favored Democrats over Republicans by 28 points in the 2022 midterm elections.

In an effort to reach more young people, Biden’s campaign has reportedly been considering whether to join TikTok, the social media app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, according to a report from Axios. In response, a Biden campaign adviser appeared to shut down the rumors while leaving the door open for a 2024 account on the platform.

Biden Awkward Decision Campaign
President Joe Biden departs the White House on Marine One on November 9. Biden’s reelection campaign has not ruled out creating a TikTok account.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

“Lol this is not a scoop,” T.J. Ducklo, a senior communications adviser for the president’s reelection campaign, wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “Campaigns talk about a bunch of stuff and some we do and a bunch we don’t. Something some outlets who know better choose to ignore for cLicKs. If we have news to share we’ll let yall know!”

Newsweek reached out to the White House via email for comment.

Most Republicans have avoided TikTok over concerns that the Chinese-owned platform, which is one of the most downloaded apps in the U.S., could pose a national security threat. Democrats, however, have been divided. While Biden hasn’t joined, a number of Democrats have become popular on the app, amassing significant followings as they seek to reach more young voters.

Asked about a change on TikTok for the president’s 2024 campaign, political consultant Jay Townsend told Newsweek, “The Biden campaign is confronting a simple reality: If a candidate is not using TikTok, they are not reaching younger voters.”

Roughly a third of Americans under 32 regularly get their news from TikTok, according to data released by the Pew Research Center last week. The app has become popular not just among young people. The share of users who consume news on the app has nearly doubled since 2020, rising from 22 percent to 43 percent—making it the social media platform with the greatest growth when it comes to news consumption.

Even though Biden doesn’t have his own account, his White House has embraced TikTok influencers to help them tout policy wins and Biden’s priorities. Earlier this year, hundreds of unpaid, independent content creators were granted access to the White House and a newly created briefing space just for influencers.

At the time, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden White House’s deputy chief of staff, said, “We’re trying to reach young people but also moms who use different platforms to get information and climate activists and people whose main way of getting information is digital.”

If Biden decided to join TikTok, he wouldn’t be the first 2024 candidate with an ambivalent approach to the social media platform. In September, GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy became the first candidate in the Republican field to join the platform despite previously calling it “digital fentanyl.”

“We can’t just talk about the importance of the GOP ‘reaching young voters’ while hiding in our own echo chambers,” Ramaswamy tweeted. He added that while he didn’t think kids under the age of 16 should be using the app, “the fact is that many young voters are & we’re not going to change this country without winning.”

Other Republican presidential candidates, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, have vowed to ban TikTok in the U.S. if they are elected.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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