Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to criticize TikTok and voice concerns about the potential for Chinese interference, in a seven-minute video posted to Triller, which he described as an “American company”.
The Trump Jr. video arrives just days before President Donald Trump’s September 15 deadline for the sale of TikTok. The president pressured the popular short video app to sell its business in the United States, fearing that its ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance, could pose a threat to national security. Trump alleged that ByteDance could be coerced by the Chinese government to pass data on Americans. TikTok has denied this and said its data is stored outside of China, suggesting it is not subject to Chinese authority.
In an executive order last month, Trump banned US companies from doing business with ByteDance and alleged that TikTok presented risks amounting to a “national emergency.” The order alleges that the app collects “vast areas” of data and “threatens to allow” Chinese authorities to track Americans.
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Microsoft and Walmart were competing with Oracle and other bidders to secure a deal for TikTok’s US operations. But the potential for a deal hit a snag earlier this week after China imposed new restrictions on technology exports that could force TikTok to seek government approval before it could sell its all-important algorithm. With the deadline quickly approaching, the application could be banned before a deal is reached.
In his video on Triller, Trump Jr. spoke about the “stupid things” kids do and how they can live forever on social media. But he also claimed that TikTok’s reach could be more damaging.
“When you have an app like TikTok where the Chinese government could turn on your kid’s camera, turn on your kid’s video, listen to it, turn on their mic anytime at random, not just when they are using the app.” , Trump Jr. said. “It goes so much further. Have access to all of your photos, contacts and emails and the spyware inside. I mean it’s something that could haunt your kids forever. “
Trump Jr. then openly endorsed Triller, saying he “would much rather be with a company like Triller which is an American company”.
Cyber security experts note that Chinese laws allow its government to pressure companies like ByteDance to provide access to user information, but they note that there is no evidence that this has happened. produced to date. Additionally, many US and international companies have access to similar amounts of user data.
Triller, which launched in 2015 before TikTok launched in 2017, claims its app has been downloaded over 250 million times globally and has around 65 million active users. (He threatened to sue when a report released by an intelligence firm on Apptopia apps alleged those numbers had been inflated.) TikTok said in a statement detailing its efforts to prosecute Trump’s executive order that ‘it had been downloaded by 100 million users in the United States alone.
Trump Jr.’s video comes amid heightened tension between the United States and China as they clash over the reach of their local tech companies. In his extensive commentary, Trump Jr. also criticized China for its handling of the coronavirus.
“They lied to the world about his virulence. They lied to the world about how it was transmitted. They played down the threat to the world, “said Trump Jr.” Do you think they’re going to be good with your data? Do you think they are ultimately not going to arm your children’s data against them? “