TikTok: Donald Trump joins the application despite past criticism

Image source, Getty Images

  • Author, Chris Vallance
  • Role, Technology journalist

Donald Trump joined TikTok, despite trying to ban it for national security reasons during his presidency.

In 2020, he signed an executive order to ban the platform due to its ties to China, which was ultimately blocked by US courts.

He has since criticized recent attempts to scale it back, saying it would give power to Meta, which owns Facebook.

Mr Trump, who has amassed more than 3.6 million followers since launching his account on Saturday, said he would use “every tool available to speak directly with the American people”.

President Joe Biden is also using the platform to campaign for his re-election in November, but he has only amassed 340,000 followers, ten times fewer than his rival’s.

This comes after President Biden signed into law a bill that gives the social media platform’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, nine months to divest the app or it will be blocked in the United States.

The law was introduced due to concerns that TikTok users could share data with the Chinese government – ​​claims that have always been denied.

Mr. Biden’s decision came as a surprise to the platform’s approximately 170 million users in the United States.

Marcus Bosch, a researcher at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, said some TikTok users might view Mr Trump as “a potential curator” of the app in the face of a possible ban – which could explain how quickly it gained popularity.

“TikTok alone is not decisive for the elections, but it has been a fantastic real-time sensor of the cultural and social atmosphere,” he told the BBC.

Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, told NBC News that the former president has “already gained traction with younger voters and this is another way to reach them.”

His first TikTok, a 13-second video of him attending a mixed martial arts event, has been viewed over 60 million times.

This comes after Mr Trump was convicted following a seven-week criminal trial.

Mr. Trump acknowledged in a March interview with CNBC that the app posed a national security risk, but argued that a ban would reinforce Facebook as an “enemy of the people, like many media outlets.” “.

His Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended following the US Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, but have since been reinstated.

Mr Trump launched his own alternative social media platform, Truth Social, in 2022 – he reportedly owns a nearly 65% ​​stake in its parent company, Trump Media.

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