“TikTok Is Spying On You”: Trump Shares Anti-TikTok Ad On Facebook

Tyumen, Russia - April 30,2019: TikTok and YouTube apps on screen iphone xr, close up
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US President Donald Trump has taken to placing anti-TikTok ads on Facebook as his war against the app continues.

The ads, which started running this week, warn Facebook users that “TikTok is spying on you” and link to a survey asking whether or not the app should be banned in the United States.

The survey also asks for respondent’s names and contact details.

“TikTok has been caught red handed by monitoring what is on your phone’s clipboard,” the ads said. “Do you think we should ban TikTok? Sign the petition NOW!”

The ad started running on July 20 and has so far had between 25,000 and 30,000 impression, with less than $US100 spent on the promotion so far, according to Facebook data.

According to some, Trump’s ad is in response to a recent movement on TikTok for young users to register for tickets to Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, only to not show up.

The result was thousands of empty seats at the Trump rally.

Trump’s anti-TikTok Facebook ads follow news the government is currently “looking at” banning TikTok in the US over data concerns.

TikTok has since hit back at the ads, with a company spokesperson calling out Facebook for running the ads

“Facebook is taking money for a political ad that attacks a competitor just as it’s preparing to launch a TikTok copycat,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

The TikTok copycat in reference is ‘Reels‘, a video-music remix currently being trialled through Facebook-owned platform Instagram.

Discussions of banning TikTok in the United States mimic conversations here in Australia.

Another Reuters report earlier this week suggested the Australian offices of both the Home Affairs and Attorney-General are discussing TikTok’s operations and potential security concerns.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently confirmed the government is “having a good look” at the app, which is owned by Chinese technology company Bytedance.

Last week TikTok launched a national campaign urging Australia not to make “TikTok a political football” amid rising tension with China.

TikTok Australia general manger Lee Hunter has reinforced the company’s position on data sharing.

“TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, and would not do so if asked. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” said Hunter upon announcing the campaign.

“We always welcome the opportunity to meet with policy makers to talk about TikTok, including the steps we’re taking to make it an even safer and more creative place.”

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