Trump takes off on TikTok

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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump now has an account on the short-form video app that he once tried to ban.

Trump’s TikTok account, which launched on Saturday night, features just one post as of publication time on Sunday morning. In the video, UFC CEO Dana White declares, “The President is now on TikTok,” then Trump chimes in to say, “It’s my honor.” The rest of the video consists largely of footage showing Trump walking among the crowd at a UFC event in Newark, New Jersey.

The video has apparently been viewed more than 31 million times, while Trump has already amassed 1.7 million followers — more than 5x the followers of the Biden-Harris account.

“Political candidate creates social media account” would not normally be big news, but the Trump campaign’s move is a reminder that even as TikTok faces an uncertain future in the United States, politicians remain eager to reach its 170 million US users. The platform could be particularly valuable for Trump, who appears to have made inroads among younger, disengaged voters — the kind of voter who might be on TikTok.

Trump’s position on TikTok has seemingly reversed — after trying to ban TikTok while he was president, he posted on Truth Social in May, “Just so everyone knows, especially the young people, Crooked Joe Biden is responsible for banning TikTok.” (Biden recently signed a bill that will ban TikTok if its parent company ByteDance fails to sell the app within a year; TikTok is fighting the bill in court.)

While Trump’s old adviser Steve Bannon has accused the former president of flip-flopping due to the influence of billionaire Jeff Yass (who owns a major stake in TikTok), Trump has insisted that banning TikTok would only strengthen Facebook, which he describes as an “enemy of the people.”

Of course, joining TikTok and attracting over 1 million followers is still just a footnote in Trump’s big week — one where he became the first former US president to be convicted of felony crimes.



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