Donald Trump Joins TikTok and Gains a Million Followers in Hours

In a surprising move, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump garnered a million followers on TikTok just hours after joining the short-form video social media platform he once sought to ban over national security concerns.

Trump’s decision to join TikTok is aimed at connecting with younger voters as he embarks on his third bid for the White House. He faces a tough battle against the incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden ahead of the November 5 presidential election.

While Biden’s campaign is already active on TikTok, the president has also signed a bill that could ban the app, used by 170 million Americans, unless its Chinese owner ByteDance divests it.

On Saturday night, Trump launched his TikTok account, @realdonaldtrump, with a video showing him greeting fans at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event in Newark, New Jersey.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

ByteDance is currently challenging a law that requires the company to sell TikTok by next January or face a ban. The White House insists that ending Chinese ownership is necessary for national security.

TikTok has maintained that it will not share user data with the Chinese government and has taken significant steps to protect user privacy.

Trump’s previous attempt to ban TikTok in 2020 was blocked by the courts. In March, he reiterated his belief that the platform poses a national security threat but also acknowledged that banning it would harm young people and benefit Meta Platforms’ Facebook, which he has sharply criticized.

Trump is already a significant presence on social media, with over 87 million followers on X and more than 7 million on his own platform, Truth Social, where he posts almost daily.

Statements Against Social Media Platforms

In March, Trump warned that banning the Chinese social network TikTok would empower Meta, the platform from which he was banned following the January 6 Capitol riots, calling Facebook “an enemy of the people.”

“Without TikTok, Facebook could become even bigger, and I consider Facebook an enemy of the people,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC when asked about the national security risks posed by the Chinese social network.

“There are many good things and many bad things… Many people love TikTok. There are many young kids who would go crazy without TikTok,” said Trump, whose Republican candidacy was sealed in March during ‘Super Tuesday’ following Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, who was never a real contender.

Trump acknowledged that while TikTok could pose a national security risk to the United States, he also expressed reluctance to push for a ban that could allow Facebook to “double in size.”

“I believe Facebook has been very bad for our country, especially regarding elections,” he stated.

Trump’s nuanced stance on TikTok contrasts with his previous efforts to ban the platform, reflecting the complexities of balancing national security concerns with the interests of millions of users and the competitive dynamics of the social media landscape.