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Trump takes off on TikTok

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has now joined the short-form video app that he once sought to ban.

His TikTok account, launched on Saturday night, currently hosts only one post as of Sunday morning. In the video, UFC CEO Dana White announces, “The President is now on TikTok,” followed by Trump stating, “It’s my honor.” The video primarily showcases Trump interacting with the crowd at a UFC event in Newark, New Jersey.

Remarkably, the video has already garnered over 31 million views, and Trump has quickly amassed 1.7 million followers — significantly surpassing the following of the Biden-Harris account by more than fivefold.

While the creation of a social media account by a political candidate might not typically make headlines, Trump’s move underscores the continued interest of politicians in reaching TikTok’s massive user base of 170 million in the United States. This platform could prove especially beneficial for Trump, who appears to have gained traction among younger, less politically engaged voters — a demographic that frequents TikTok.

Trump’s stance on TikTok appears to have shifted. After attempting to ban the app during his presidency, he posted on Truth Social in May, attributing the attempted ban to President Biden. (Biden recently signed legislation that could lead to a ban on TikTok if its parent company, ByteDance, fails to sell the app within a year; TikTok is contesting this in court.)

Although Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon has accused him of flip-flopping under the influence of billionaire Jeff Yass, a major TikTok stakeholder, Trump argues that banning TikTok would only bolster Facebook, which he labels as an “enemy of the people.”

While Trump’s TikTok debut and his rapid follower count are noteworthy, they pale in comparison to the major developments of his week, including being the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes.

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