With Musk’s X under fire, White House launches Threads accounts for Biden, Harris

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WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden joined Threads, Meta’s social media rival to Elon Musk’s X, on Nov 20, just days after the White House blasted the tech baron for pushing anti-Semitism.

“Folks, it’s President Biden,” said his first post, which he made on his 81st birthday. “You’re hearing from me today from a new platform but my message to you hasn’t changed.”

“I don’t see a dark, dismal, divided future for America,” he added. “I see an America about to take off.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, the home of Facebook and Instagram, launched Threads in July in a bid to depose Musk’s X, then known as Twitter, as the go-to platform for celebrities, companies and governments to make public statements.

The White House confirmed it had launched Threads accounts for the President, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, her husband Douglas Emhoff and the White House itself, in English and Spanish.

A White House spokeswoman, Robyn Patterson, said the reason for the move is because “we are committed to meeting people where they are”.

“Threads is an additional way we can communicate with the American people about this administration’s historic actions to create 14 million jobs, lower prescription drug costs, and protect freedoms and more,” a White House official said.

The official added that the launch had been in the works for several weeks.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said he was not aware of efforts to wean the US government off using technology companies owned by Musk.

“I’m not aware of any specific efforts to address to our concerns over his rhetoric through the way that his companies provide support to our national security establishment,” Mr Kirby said.

But Mr Biden’s debut on the platform comes only three days after a White House spokesman condemned Musk, the world’s richest person, for the “abhorrent promotion” of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Major media companies, including Comcast, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery, also announced that they were pausing advertisements on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the controversial Tesla and SpaceX tycoon last week replied to an anti-Semitic post on the platform with the words: “You have said the actual truth.”.

Messaging platform X on Nov 20 sued media watchdog group Media Matters, alleging the organisation defamed the platform after it published a report that said ads for major brands had appeared next to posts touting Nazism.

The White House repeated its condemnation of Musk on Nov 20, but said there were no plans as yet to change US proposals to use a version of his Starship rocket for future Moon landings.

“That doesn’t mean that we accept or agree with or condone, in any way, that anti-Semitic rhetoric that he pushed,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told a briefing.

Meanwhile White House communications director Ben LaBolt promoted the president’s first Threads post – on X. AFP, REUTERS

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