Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to criticize TikTok and express concerns about the potential for Chinese interference, in a seven-minute video posted to Triller, which he touted as an “American company.”
Trump Jr.’s video comes just days before the Sept. 15 deadline that President Donald Trump set for a sale of TikTok. The president has pressured the popular short-form video app to sell its U.S. business over concerns that its ties to China via its parent company, ByteDance, posted a threat to national security. Trump alleged that ByteDance could be forced by the Chinese government to hand over data on Americans. TikTok has denied this and stated its data is stored outside of China, suggesting it’s not subject to Chinese authority.
In an executive order last month, Trump banned U.S. companies from doing business with ByteDance and alleged that TikTok poses risks that amount to a “national emergency.” The order alleges that the app collects “vast swaths” of data and “threatens to allow” Chinese officials to track Americans.
Microsoft and Walmart were competing against Oracle and other bidders to land a deal for TikTok’s U.S. operations. But the potential for an agreement hit a snag earlier this week after China imposed new restrictions on technology exports that could require TikTok to get government approval before it is able to sell its all-important algorithm. With the deadline quickly approaching, the app could be banned before a deal is reached.
In his video on Triller, Trump Jr. talked about the “dumb things” that kids do and how it can live on forever on social media. But he also claimed that TikTok reach could be more nefarious.
“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. “This goes so much further. 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.”
Trump Jr. then openly endorsed Triller, saying he’d “much rather be with a company like Triller that is an American company.”
Related: Donald Trump Jr.’s family Instagrams
31 PHOTOSDonald Trump Jr.'s family InstagramsSee GalleryDonald Trump Jr.'s family InstagramsSome cool pics from last weeks father son trip with Donnie to Northern BC. This was his first horse pack trip and within minutes he was totally comfortable. From riding long hours to tough terrain to hours of riding to get back to camp in pitch dark he was just a stud. Never a moment of doubt or fear… he was an instant horseman. Very proud of him. #horse #backcountry #outdoor #adventure #fatherandson @hunternationSome of my best times are with friends and family around the campfire. Here’s a cool couple of shots I was able to get of Donnie and me around a fire after a long day in horseback in the mountains of Northern British Columbia last week. #campfire #camping #wildernessculture #adventure #fatherandsonGreat day in the Louisania bayou for LA Attorney General Jeff Landry’s annual gator hunt with @agjefflandry @stevescalise @repbrianbabin @kimberlyguilfoyle @pambondi Great food, great friends, great times. #la #cajun #creole #bayou #louisianaThe Northern lights popping out over the cabin that Donnie and I got to spend a father son weekend in this past weekend in Northern British Columbia. Such an amazing adventure with lots of time in the saddle… miles and miles on horseback and hiking. It was awesome. #fatherandson #outdoor #adventure #familytimeFloat plane into camp this past weekend for a man trip with Donnie. One last father son outdoor adventure in Northern British Columbia, Canada before school begins. Notice the second to last pic of the forest fires that enveloped the area. Always be careful out there in the woods with fire. Remember what Smoky said… Only you can prevent forest fires! #outdoors #adventure #fire #fatherandson #avation #bushplaneMy (not so) little girl Kai with me last weekend after her kids club championship win @trumpgolfwestchester. I’m very proud of her. #daddyslittlegirl #daddysgirl #dad #daughterPretty sure this wins me dad if the year (circa 1970) for improvisational skills and pragmatism. Remember folks safety first!!!🇺🇸🤣🇺🇸 #dad #skills #safety #kids #golfManaged to capture the ever elusive kiss on the nose from Chloe this afternoon. Not too many years left before she gets too cool, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. #daddysgirl #kids #weekend #pool #partyFamily cooking night with the monsters. They wanted a very eclectic mix of my guacamole and spaghetti carbonara. Sounded weird but I guess guaq goes with everything. Special thanks to Kai (@kaitrumpgolfer), Donnie, Tristan, Spencer , and the Bug for all their help. That was fun and delicious. #cooking #pasta #kids #familytimeSpencer helping me make pancakes for the kids this weekend. He’s one cute little man. #kids #cooking #familytimeAfter a miserable and rainy morning it finally cleared up and I was able to get the monkeys into the pool to complete the wearing them out by bedtime process that is my first job as a parent. Also, getting 5 kids to look at a camera and smile simultaneously is the hardest thing in the world to accomplish🤣🇺🇸 #kids #weekend #fun #pool #partyIt’s amazing how the simple things can be so amusing… it’s almost like we could live without iPads and Xbox.😉 Good time with the monsters today. #familytime #kids #weekendGreat day on the water fishing with @kimberlyguilfoyle who put on a clinic on how to get it done. While 99% of my fishing is #catchandrelease every once an a while you have to bring home dinner… and it was delicious. #fishing #outdoors #weekendHanging out with my girl Kai aka @kaitrumpgolfer. Getting in a little BBQ with the other smurfs to get the weekend started right. #kids #weekend #bbq #familytimeDonnie helping me out in the #duck blind last season. Definitely the best #hunting buddy out there. Get them outdoors early and often… you won’t regret it!!! #throwback #tbt #throwbackthursdayMy team @trumpstore kept seeing pictures of Kai’s new puppy Bella and decided to get her a special present… her own Trump leash and collar. You can get yours at The Trump Store too. Enjoy. #trump #trumppets #puppy #presentS’mores with T-man by the campfire. Keeping the nightly summer campfire cookout tradition alive. I’ve been doing this since I was his age and it never gets old. #fire #campfire #smores #kids #outdoorsChloe!!! This one is going to be a great fisherman. Just turned 4 and is pretty much doing it all in her own. #fishing #outdoors #kids #weekendOh boy. Spencer lost a tooth yesterday. Daddy tried to pretend that the $50 bill he (AKA THE TOOTH FAIRY) had, which was the only cash I had on me, was a $5 to be switched out later but Spencer noticed he extra 0 and has been asking about it since. I think he’s got me busted. That may turn out to be an expensive error. #teeth #toothfairy #tooth #fairy #dadKai, Donnie, and Tristan with their great grandmother. They don’t likely know how lucky they are to get to know her but I do what I can to make sure they spend as much time as possible with her. She was a huge influence in my life along with her husband before he passed so it’s great that the kids are getting to know her as well. #family #familytime #weekend #greatgrandparentsCatching up with my little man Donnie this evening. Apparently you only get a partial smile when you interrupt a game of #fortnite… whatever that is. 🤣Throwback to Christmas Vacation. Chloe and Spencer hanging out with grandpa @realdonaldtrump #throwbackthursday #tbt #throwback #flashbackAwesome pic. Can’t wait buddy. We’re going to hit it hard again this year. #throwback #sunday #outdoors #Repost @mattforsyth7・・・T minus 4 weeks until sheep season🙌🏼💪🏼👊🏼! #sheepseason18 #kuiu #kuiunationPlaying catch with the Smurf by the pool. Chloe is another one who is going to be a great athlete like her Big sister Kai. #kids #sport #athlete #family #weekendSunday funday with my little man Spencer. #family #weekend #kidsGetting the weekend started right with the munchkins. Hope you all have a good one. #kids #weekend #familytime #familyGetting after it early today. Getting the monsters off road and ATVing. Weekend goals: get them exhausted by bedtime. #family #weekend #offroad #atvStory time with the bug… then I told her it was bedtime and she wasn’t happy about it. 🤣😂🤣 in the end she still gave me her prize sticker from camp so I think I’m good. #daddysgirl #story #time #reading #kidsAs if I needed another reason to love Montana. It’s always cool when some friendly neighbors hear you’re shooting with their friends and come over with their #maga flags. #mt #montana #outdoors #shootingGreat #throwback pic with Kai and Donnie shark fishing off the beach this spring with my boy @blacktiph. Solid teamwork getting this guy in and released quickly back into the wild. #shark #tbt #throwbackthursday #fishing @kaitrumpgolferIt started off all nice and friendly then the bottom fell out!!! Only my little monsters will turn a great fam pic into a wrestling match😂🇺🇸😂🇺🇸😂🇺🇸 We had an awesome Father’s Day. #fathersday #family #weekend #familytime #wrestlingUp Next
Cybersecurity experts note that China’s laws enable its government to pressure companies such as ByteDance to provide access to user information, but they note there’s no evidence that this has happened to date. Also, many American and other 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 more than 250 million times worldwide and that it has roughly 65 million active users. (It threatened to sue when a report issued by an app intelligence company Apptopia alleged those numbers were inflated.) TikTok claimed in a statement detailing its efforts to sue over Trump’s executive order that it has been downloaded by 100 million users in the U.S. alone.
Trump Jr.’s video comes amid heightened tension between the U.S. and China as they square off over the reach of their homegrown technology companies. In his wide-ranging commentary, Trump Jr. also criticized China for its handling of the coronavirus.
“They lied to the world about its virulence. They lied to the world about the way it was transmitted. They minimized the threat to the world,” Trump Jr. said. “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?”
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