- Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, in a video Friday targeted TikTok, which is less than two weeks away from facing a ban in the US under his father’s executive order.
- In a video posted to Triller, a video-sharing app that has expressed interested in purchasing TikTok, Trump Jr. claimed TikTok could be “turning on your kid’s video, listening in, turning on their mic at any random time not just when they’re using the app.”
- TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations that it provides any of its user data to the Chinese Communist Party, which in August took actions complicating its plans to sell US operations as a result of President Trump’s executive orders against it.
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Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, on Friday posted on video-sharing app Triller, peddling unsubstantiated theories that TikTok is turning on users’ cameras and microphones even when the app is closed, arguing TikTok is “something that could haunt your kids forever.”
“When you have an app like TikTok where the Chinese government could be turning on your kid’s camera, turning on your kid’s video, listening in, turning on their mic at any random time not just when they’re using the app,” Trump Jr. said in his first video on the platform, as first reported by NBC News.
“This goes so much further,” he continued. “Having access to all your photos and contacts and emails and the spyware that’s there. I mean this is something that could haunt your kids forever.”
Representatives for TikTok did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on Saturday. The social media platform, however, has repeatedly denied allegations that it shares American’s user data with Chinese officials.
Criticism over TikTok’s Chinese ownership has been months-long and bipartisan. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, last month said that an American company needed to purchase the app so that it was not subject to Chinese law. Late last year, all branches of the US military banned TikTok usage on government devices. And in July, the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden banned its staffers from using TikTok on both its work and personal devices, Bloomberg reported.
In August, the president targeted TikTok in a series of executive orders, the first barring any US company from doing business with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, effectively requiring a sale by September 15. The second executive order, signed on August 14, aimed to invalidate ByteDance’s purchase of TikTok in 2017.
The company has sued the Trump administration, claiming it did not provide the company due process in enacting the August 6 executive order.
The Chinese government at the end of August changed rules that would require TikTok to gain its approval before it sells the algorithm that powers the app, reportedly stalling talks from companies like Microsoft and Oracle, and delivering the latest snag as the company works against President Donald Trump’s executive order ordering its sale.
According to Business Insider, Triller reportedly found China’s new rules more favorable for it to purchase TikTok, as it could use its existing technology to power TikTok. The company said it entered a $20 billion bid to purchase TikTok’s US, Australia, New Zealand, and India operations, in partnership with London-based investment firm Centricus, according to the report.
A spokesperson for ByteDance denied that the company had not had discussions with Triller, and said it would “not have any in the future,” Business Insider previously reported.
Also in his Friday video on Triller, Donald Trump Jr. argued a Chinese company couldn’t be trusted to own TikTok because he said, the nation’s government lied about the novel coronavirus.
“They lied to the world about its virulence,” he said. “They lied to the world about the way it was transmitted. They minimized the threat to the world. You think they’re going to be good with your data? You think they’re going to not weaponize your kids’ data eventually against them?”