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Trump Warns of National Security Threat from TikTok, Acknowledges Impact on Kids

 Trump warns of national security threat from TikTok but acknowledges potential negative impact on children. Lawmakers consider a bill that would require ByteDance to divest TikTok within six months. Meta Platforms' shares drop following Trump's comments.

In a recent statement, U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump expressed his concerns about TikTok, labeling it as a national security threat. However, he also acknowledged that a ban on the popular app could have negative consequences for some children and inadvertently strengthen Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, which Trump has been critical of.


Trump reiterated his worries as lawmakers consider a bill that would require TikTok's owner, ByteDance, to divest the app within six months. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the legislation this week, which would impose a quick deadline on China's ByteDance to sell TikTok, a platform used by approximately 170 million Americans.

While discussing the potential ban, Trump stated, "I'm not looking to make Facebook double the size. And if you ban TikTok, (then) Facebook and others, but mostly Facebook, will be a big beneficiary. And I think Facebook has been very dishonest."


Following Trump's remarks, shares of Meta Platforms dropped by 3.8% to $486.71. The company declined to comment on the matter.


It is worth noting that Trump had previously criticised Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, for suspending his access to Facebook and Instagram after removing two of his posts during the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. However, his accounts were reinstated in February 2023.


Trump also expressed concerns about the potential impact of a TikTok ban on young people, stating, "There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it. There's a lot of good and there's a lot of bad with TikTok."

President Joe Biden has indicated that he would sign the bill after it was unanimously approved by a committee. However, TikTok argues that the legislation effectively amounts to a ban and raises questions about whether China would approve any sale or if ByteDance could divest TikTok within the given timeframe.


In response to the bill, TikTok released a statement on Friday, saying, "This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States. The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression."


House Majority Leader Steve Scalise emphasised the need to prevent the Chinese government from using TikTok for data collection and propaganda against American users and the government.


If the bill is passed, ByteDance would have 165 days to divest TikTok. Failure to do so would result in app stores operated by Apple, Google, and others being legally prohibited from offering TikTok or providing web hosting services to ByteDance-controlled applications.


It is worth noting that in 2020, Trump attempted to ban TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat but faced legal challenges that prevented the bans from being implemented. Given the app's popularity and the challenges of passing legislation during an election year, obtaining approval from both the House and Senate may prove to be difficult.


While President Biden's re-election campaign has joined TikTok, Trump's campaign has not made a similar move.

 
  • Trump warns of national security threat from TikTok but acknowledges potential negative impact on children

  • Lawmakers consider a bill that would require ByteDance to divest TikTok within six months

  • Meta Platforms' shares drop following Trump's comments


Source: REUTERS

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