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Joe Biden’s new Snapchat lens lets supporters attend virtual inauguration as they are banned from real one

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Adam Smith
·2-min read
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 (Joe Biden/Twitter)
(Joe Biden/Twitter)

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration committee has rolled out an augmented reality lens on Snapchat, letting them picture themselves as the new president is sworn in.

"This year’s inauguration has allowed us to create new, innovative, and creative tools for Americans across the country to participate in inaugural traditions and ceremonies while staying home to keep everyone safe," said Christian Tom, digital director of the presidential inauguration committee, in a statement reported by USA Today.

"We are excited for President-elect Biden to share his message around unifying the country with folks on Snapchat and invite them to be a part of this historic inaugural."

The augmented reality (AR) lens features two lenses: one using the front-facing camera where users are in front of the Capitol and an American flag as confetti falls, and a second where Mr Biden is speaking in front of a crowd of supporters who sent their photos in via email.

In the months running up to the US election, president-elect Biden made numerous attempts to reach out to voters via digital, and unconventional, means.

In May, the Biden campaign used Snapchat’s filters to place the president-elect’s aviator sunglasses over users’ faces while in September a filter that could be used on US Postal Service post boxes encouraged early voting.

The Biden campaign reportedly spent nearly $740,000 on Snapchat, compared to president Trump’s $41,000 expenditure.

In October, he launched his own island on the hit Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, although new guidelines published by the Japanese video game publisher prohibiting politics into the video game saw it banned one month later.

The use of digital campaigns was necessary both with regards to the coronavirus pandemic – where many supporters have had to stay home in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 – and because of the recent attack on the Capitol building.

Approximately 21,000 National Guard troops will be present at the inauguration – more than the US currently has in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.