Biden’s Challenges in Reaching Young Voters on TikTok Include Anger Over Gaza

President Biden’s campaign is working to reach across the generation gap to the tens of millions of predominantly younger voters on TikTok, where the challenges are daunting and the rewards difficult to track.

The obstacles range from anger over the war in Gaza to what social media experts describe as the unavoidably uncool nature of supporting the administration in power.

Mr. Biden, 81, joined the app owned by a Chinese company last month, in what was widely seen as an effort to communicate with voters under 30, among whom he has polled poorly for months. In interviews and surveys, those voters indicated an unawareness about his administration’s accomplishments, something a word of mouth campaign on TikTok could alleviate.

But navigating the platform and its more than 150 million users in the U.S. has involved confronting, usually in the comments sections of his own posts, some of the thorniest issues plaguing Mr. Biden’s re-election bid: disillusioned voters averse to politics, concerns about his age, outrage over the death toll in Gaza. Former President Donald J. Trump isn’t on the app, but his supporters are active. Adding to the puzzle, Mr. Biden’s aides are trying to sell his record on a platform his administration has argued poses a national security threat.

President Joe Biden sits with attendees while listening to an opening speaker, during a campaign event at the El Portal restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 19, 2024.Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

A bill to force TikTok to cut ties with its Chinese owner or otherwise face a ban in the U.S. is stalled in the Senate, but the president has said he’ll sign it if it passes — a position that has rankled even his staunchest young supporters.

Related Articles

Back to top button