Trump Supports TikTok Amid Talks of Banning Chinese-Owned App

Trump backs TikTok as Congress considers bill to ban Chinese-owned social media app

Former President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to a potential ban on TikTok, currently under consideration in Congress, citing concerns that such a ban would inadvertently benefit Facebook, a company he labeled as “a true Enemy of the People!”

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump, aged 77, claimed, “If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” seemingly referring to Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He continued, stating, “I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!”

This stance from Trump comes in the wake of Zuckerberg’s decision to ban him from both Facebook and Instagram on January 7, 2021, following the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters. Trump expressed his discontent with Zuckerberg’s actions, suggesting repercussions for their previous interactions and emphasizing a business-focused relationship should he return to the White House.

Tiktok (Credits: Semafor)

Despite this tension, Meta reinstated Trump’s accounts last year.

In a recent development, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation aimed at regulating TikTok with bipartisan support. The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) propose compelling TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to divest its assets within 165 days or face removal from major app stores.

This move follows previous actions taken by the Biden administration, such as the No TikTok on Government Devices Act signed in December 2022, which prohibited the use of the app on federal government devices due to concerns about potential data access by the Chinese Communist Party.

ByteDance has vehemently denied such allegations, stating they are based on misinformation, and views the current legislation as a deliberate attempt to curtail freedom of expression for millions of Americans.

Notably, Trump had previously supported banning TikTok in the US, even issuing an executive order in August 2020 to that effect. However, his order faced legal challenges, and upon assuming office, President Biden reversed the ban, instead opting for a thorough national security assessment of the app.

In light of these developments, reports have emerged suggesting efforts by billionaire hedge fund manager Jeff Yass, a prominent GOP donor, to influence Republican lawmakers against the legislation seeking to ban TikTok. Yass’s significant investment in ByteDance underscores the financial stakes at play in this debate.

Despite denials from Yass’s camp regarding direct lobbying efforts, the push and pull surrounding TikTok’s fate in the US continue to draw significant attention and political maneuvering.

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