Trump Says a TikTok Ban Would Only Benefit Meta’s Facebook

Former US President Donald Trump has voiced his disapproval of a congressional bill that forces TikTok’s parent company to either sell the app or face a ban in the US.

Trump, who previously attempted to ban TikTok during his presidency in 2020, claimed that this bill could unfairly benefit Meta, the company that owns Facebook.

The current legislative discussions revolve around a bill that would mandate TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app by September 30th.

President Joe Biden has indicated his willingness to sign the bill should it successfully pass through Congress.

“Without TikTok, Facebook could become bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people,” Trump told NBC on Monday.

When questioned about the app’s security concerns, Trump acknowledged the social media platform’s mixed impact, noting both positive and negative aspects.

“A lot of people on TikTok love it. Many young kids on TikTok would go crazy without it,” Trump added.

The US intelligence agencies have issued warnings about the Chinese government’s use of TikTok for disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining US leadership and democratic values.

A recent national security threat assessment, reported by the Director of National Intelligence, noted that Chinese government-run TikTok accounts had targeted US political figures across parties during the 2022 midterm elections.

In an interview with NBC, Trump agreed with the viewpoint that TikTok poses a national security risk but also criticized Facebook as a threat to the US government.

“I think Facebook has been very bad for our country, especially regarding elections,” Trump added.

Following Trump’s critique, Meta’s stock plummeted, losing over 4% in value on a day that otherwise saw stable market conditions. Snap, another social media company, also experienced a decline in stock value.

Trump’s remarks signal the intensifying political scrutiny that social media companies are likely to face as the upcoming presidential election in November approaches.

The last significant push to mandate a sale or ban of TikTok occurred in 2020, during the previous presidential race between Trump and Biden, over concerns that ByteDance could share user data with the Chinese government.

TikTok’s leadership has consistently denied any data sharing with Beijing and has stated their refusal to do so if requested.

In 2020, Trump issued an executive order that required ByteDance to divest TikTok within 90 days, a directive that encountered legal challenges.

Following the Capitol riot in 2021, Meta suspended Trump’s accounts. The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group with ties to Trump, has expressed strong opposition to the TikTok ban.

Last week, Trump met with Jeff Yass, a significant benefactor of the Club for Growth and a billionaire hedge fund manager.

Kellyanne Conway, a former senior aide to Trump, has been lobbying on behalf of the Club for Growth for TikTok in Congress in recent months.

The Justice Department, FBI, and other national security agencies are set to brief the entire House of Representatives on TikTok, which remains immensely popular in the US, especially among younger demographics.

A bipartisan congressional committee has already passed the bill with a unanimous vote of 50-0. The bill now awaits a Senate vote for approval before it can be officially signed into law.