Trump Says TikTok Ban Will Enable Meta, Criticizes Facebook

Former president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (left) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.


Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday expressed concern over efforts to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok in the US, saying it would only serve to empower Meta’s Facebook platform.

“Without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook the enemy of the people,” Trump, who served as US president from 2017 to 2021, said in an interview with CNBC TV on Monday.

Acknowledging his concerns about national security and data privacy on TikTok, Trump said “there’s a lot of good and a lot of bad” with the platform.

“There are a lot of people on TikTok who like it. There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who are going to go crazy without it,” Trump said.

CNBC has reached out to Meta for comment.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has exploded in popularity over the past few years, becoming an international sensation with its short videos.

It also led regulators to fear that Chinese ownership of the software would mean it could share personal user data at the request of the government in Beijing.

ByteDance, like other Chinese companies, would be forced to disclose such information if requested, experts say. China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requires organizations and citizens to “support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work.”

In 2020, the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to remove TikTok from US app stores due to these concerns. Trump subsequently ordered ByteDance to divest from TikTok within 90 days. That effort, which at one point led Microsoft to make a bid for TikTok’s US business, also never came to fruition.

Now U.S. lawmakers are stepping up their efforts again to address concerns about TikTok, with separate pieces of legislation proposing either a separation of TikTok from ByteDance or a complete ban. Current President Joe Biden, who has expressed national security concerns about TikTok, also said he would sign a bill to ban the app if Congress passes it.

Trump recently softened his tone, saying he feared banning TikTok would only make Facebook more powerful.

In Monday’s interview, Trump said he believes TikTok remains a national security risk given its Chinese ownership — but he also deflected attention to Facebook, noting the platform has similar privacy and security issues.

“If China wants something from [TikTo]they will give it, so it’s a national security risk [that] is going up,” Trump acknowledged. “But looking at it, I don’t want to double Facebook. And if you ban TikTok, Facebook and others – but mostly Facebook – it will be a big help, and I think Facebook has been very busy.”

“I think Facebook is very bad for our country, especially when it comes to elections,” Trump added.

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