Trump tackles TikTok: Security threat or youth essential?

Donald Trump, the U.S. presidential candidate, on Monday called TikTok a national security threat, yet he acknowledged that banning the popular app could adversely affect some children and might inadvertently benefit Meta Platforms' Facebook, a company he has frequently criticized.

Publication: 12.03.2024 - 13:11
Trump tackles TikTok: Security threat or youth essential?
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As Congress considers legislation that would require TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to divest the app within six months, Trump reiterated his concerns. The app, beloved by 170 million Americans, faces scrutiny over its ownership and data security practices.

In a recent communication with Congress, TikTok refuted claims of Chinese government ownership or control, asserting that divestment wouldn't enhance the security of U.S. user data and might disrupt its $1.5 billion data protection initiative. The FBI, Justice Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are scheduled to brief House members on TikTok's potential risks, highlighting the ongoing debate over the platform's influence and data practices.

Amid discussions about the app's future, Trump, in a CNBC interview, voiced his reluctance to bolster Facebook's market dominance by banning TikTok, calling out the social media giant for what he perceives as dishonesty. Despite meeting with investor Jeff Yass of Susquehanna International Group, a ByteDance stakeholder, Trump insisted TikTok wasn't their discussion topic.

Trump, previously critical of Meta Platforms for restricting his social media access post the January 6 Capitol riot, recognized the impact a TikTok ban could have on its youthful user base, stating, "There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it."

With TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew set to visit Capitol Hill for talks with senators and President Joe Biden expressing readiness to sign the bill, the future of TikTok hangs in balance. The proposed legislation aims to mitigate concerns over Chinese government data access and propaganda but faces legislative hurdles in an election year. The debate continues as the Biden campaign embraces TikTok, contrasting Trump's campaign strategy.

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