President Donald Trump’s campaign has launched a major initiative against popular social media app TikTok. The new assault includes a number of advertisements on Facebook and Instagram that accuse the app of spying on users on behalf of the Chinese government.
According to Business Insider, more than 100 different advertisements were recently published on Facebook that urged users to sign a petition to ban TikTok in the United States.
“Protect our kids from China,” read one ad.
“TikTok has been caught red-handed by monitoring what is on your phone’s clipboard,” claimed another.
The move comes after Trump has openly mulled a ban on TikTok as tensions with China continue to rise. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has floated the idea as well due to security reasons. It is already prohibited in India following a border skirmish that left dozens of soldiers dead.
The accusations of spying are not without merit. Many tech experts have expressed their concern about the amount of data that TikTok gathers from its users.
For example, an article in Input Mag claimed that the program was collecting information that included GPS location, data about the wireless network, other installed apps on the phone, and details about the hardware itself. It was also reported that TikTok read the phones’ clipboards, which stores all information that is copied and pasted by their owners.
“TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network,” the article quoted.
After numerous studies revealed the questionable practices, parent company ByteDance promised that it would end the practice.
Still, TikTok has been in Trump’s crossfire before. It was reported that Tiktok may have played a part in the low turnout at the president’s recent Tulsa rally. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, some teens reserved hundreds of tickets without any intention of showing up as a way to prank the commander in chief.
As a result, Technology Review dubbed it the favored tool of the “resistance,” which could be part of the reason the reelection campaign has decided to make this a new issue.
TikTok is not the only social media platform that has earned the ire of the reelection campaign. Twitter has also drawn fire with similar ads, particularly after it began to censor some of the president’s tweets. Snapchat, another app popular with young millennials and Gen Z-ers, has been a target as well.
Social media has continued to play a major part in the political cycle, and Facebook, in particular, grabbed headlines after a series of boycotts urged the website to use stricter measures to check posts on its platform.