Trump backs TikTok as Congress mulls banning Chinese-owned app

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Former President Donald Trump on Thursday signaled his opposition to a TikTok ban being considered in Congress, arguing that it would help Facebook, which he called “a true Enemy of the People!”

“If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” Trump, 77, claimed in a Truth Social post, apparently referring to Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

“I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!” he added. 

Trump referred to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg as “Zuckerschmuck” in a Truth Social post Thursday. Getty Images

Zuckerberg banned Trump from Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 7, 2021, one day after the former president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election win. 

Trump seethed about the Meta CEO’s decision, releasing a statement, months later, saying, “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”

Meta reinstated Trump last year.

In a 50-0 vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday advanced legislation that seeks to crack down on TikTok.

The bill, introduced earlier this week by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), would give the popular video-sharing app’s Chinese parent company — ByteDance — 165 days to sell TikTok or face being banned from app stores operated by Apple, Google and others. 

The legislation has the support of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and President Biden has said he would sign it into law if it reaches his desk. 

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is owned by the Chinese government. AP

In December 2022, Biden signed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act, which banned the app from federal government devices and systems, amid concerns that ByteDance could allow the Chinese Communist Party access to user data. 

ByteDance denies it would share user data with the CCP, calling the concerns “misinformation.”

“This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States,” the company said after Thursday’s vote. “The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”

Trump has previously supported banning TikTok in the US, going as far as signing an executive order in August of 2020 that gave ByteDance 45 days to sell the social media platform. 

Trump’s order was blocked in court and Biden revoked the ban upon taking office, instead directing the Department of Commerce to determine whether TikTok poses a national security threat. 

The Post reported on Thursday that billionaire hedge fund manager and GOP megadonor Jeff Yass has been personally calling Republican members of the House to try to halt the legislation seeking to ban the app. 

Yass’s fund has a $33 billion stake in Bytedance.

A spokesman for Yass denied that he was making calls to GOP lawmakers. 

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