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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Trump comments on why he didn’t ban TikTok

The former US president has claimed that he didn’t want to boost Facebook, which he considers an “enemy of the people”

Former President Donald Trump has claimed that he backed down from trying to get TikTok banned in the US because of the video-sharing platform’s popularity among young Americans and his reluctance to help strengthen rival social media giant Facebook.

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it,” Trump said on Monday in a CNBC interview“There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.” He added, “There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad with TikTok, but the thing I don’t like is that without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media.”

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Trump tried to block access to TikTok in the US through an executive order in August 2020, arguing that the spread of Chinese-owned platforms was a threat to US national security. He told CNBC that while facing legal and political opposition to the move, he chose to leave the decision to Congress because of his mixed feelings about the issue.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden in this year’s election, said he still believes TikTok could be a threat to national security and expose the private information of its US users to the Chinese government. However, he has similar concerns about Facebook and other US-based social media companies.

“You have that problem with Facebook and lots of other companies, too,” Trump said. “I mean, they get the information, they get plenty of information, and they deal with China, and they’ll do whatever China wants.”

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Trump warned that banning TikTok could help Facebook double in size. “I think Facebook has been very bad for our country, especially when it comes to elections,” he argued.

Republicans have alleged that donations by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to local election offices in 2020 were meant to boost voter turnout in Democrat-leaning areas, a claim that was dismissed by the Federal Election Commission. Trump called Zuckerberg’s involvement in the 2020 presidential race “illegal.”

Legislation that could ban TikTok or force it to be sold by its Chinese parent company is reportedly headed for a vote in Congress later this week. Trump has opposed the bill.

The former president argued that the US has lost negotiating leverage over Beijing by removing the threat of additional tariffs on imports of Chinese goods. “China is right now our boss,” he claimed. “They are the boss of the United States, almost like we’re a subsidiary of China, and that’s because the Biden administration has been so weak.”