December 9, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg’s latest social media platform has a new high-profile user: The President of the United States.

After Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X, his social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the White House criticized his “unacceptable” comments.

“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates in a statement on Friday.

On Monday, President Joe Biden seemingly took another step in condemning Musk’s comments: Biden joined X’s closest competitor, Threads.

“Folks, it’s President Biden,” the official @POTUS account published on Nov. 20 in its first post on Threads. “You’re hearing from me today from a new platform, but my message to you hasn’t changed: Right now, we face an inflection point – one of those challenging moments in history where the decisions we make today will determine decades to come. But I don’t see a dark, dismal, divided future for America. I see an America about to take off. I’ll continue doing everything in my power to meet this moment – and keep you posted along the way.

The White House has not given any official reason as to why Biden has chosen now to join Threads, which is owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and closely integrated with Instagram. Threads launched in July and gained 100 million users in just a matter of days as social media aficionados looked for a Musk-less Twitter alternative. The platform has struggled to keep all those users active but has continued to grow with a dedicated userbase in the tens of millions.

However, the timing is interesting. Major advertisers have fled X in recent days, following the blowback from Musk’s comments surrounding the antisemitic conspiracy theory that he promoted. Also, polls have shown Biden lagging behind Donald Trump among key demographics as we head into the 2024 presidential election season. One of Biden’s biggest challenges has been his support of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza against Hamas, which many groups such as young voters and the Democratic base disagree with.

If the latter was one of White House’s calculations in having Biden join Threads, it doesn’t seem to be going that well. Within minutes of Biden’s first post on the platform, the replies have already filled with users demanding a ceasefire and posting “Free Palestine” and other words of support for the Palestinian people.

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