Donald Trump Joins TikTok After Previously Seeking To Ban The App As President

Donald Trump Joins TikTok After Previously Seeking To Ban The App As President

Former President Donald Trump joined TikTok, the popular social media platform with ties to China that he had once sought to ban during his presidency. According to media reports, Trump’s first post on the platform featured a video from an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match he attended in Newark, New Jersey. The video included UFC CEO Dana White and a montage of cheering UFC fans. Trump addressed viewers, saying, it was an “honour” to be on the app. White began the video with, “The president is now on TikTok”. 

Trump’s account, verified with a badge, contained only this single post. His super PAC, MAGA Inc., had previously joined the platform in May. Taylor Nudowich, the PAC’s CEO, posted on X, “MAGA INC will not cede any platform to Joe Biden and the Democrats who are trying to destroy our country. We will ensure President Trump’s America First agenda is brought to every corner of the internet and every precinct of this country”. 

Trump’s move to join TikTok highlighted his recent change of stance on the platform, which is popular with 170 million people in the United States. Although smaller than competitors like Instagram and Facebook, TikTok is growing faster and trends younger. 

During his administration, Trump had raised concerns about TikTok’s links to China as part of his broad anti-China agenda. He put TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, at the centre of US tensions with China and attempted to ban the app from the United States by executive order.

President Joe Biden and many lawmakers have echoed Trump’s concerns. Biden signed legislation that would force TikTok to sell to another company or face an outright ban. However, Trump now opposes a nationwide TikTok ban, stating that such a policy would only alienate young Americans and benefit Meta. 

Defenders of the app, including TikTok itself, have argued that any alleged national security risks linked to the app are hypothetical and that there has been no publicly presented evidence suggesting the Chinese government has accessed the personal data of TikTok’s US users. 

On Saturday, Trump’s launch on TikTok — just days after his New York criminal conviction — seemed to reinforce his transformation. By Sunday morning, his TikTok account had more than 6,50,000 followers, and his launch video had been viewed more than 7 million views. 

The Biden campaign also maintains a presence on TikTok and continues to post on the platform despite the Biden administration’s support for a nationwide TikTok ban. 

TikTok has filed a legal challenge to the law Biden signed in April that would ban the app unless it finds a new owner. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for September. 

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