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Donald Trump calls TikTok a threat but says some kids could ‘go crazy’ without it

US presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Monday that TikTok was a national security threat but also said that a ban on the popular app would hurt some kids and only strengthen Meta Platforms’ META.O Facebook, which the Republican has harshly criticized.

Trump reiterated his concerns as lawmakers weigh a bill this week that would give TikTok owner ByteDance about six months to divest the popular short video app.

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday on legislation that gives China’s ByteDance a quick deadline to divest the popular TikTok short video app used by 170 million Americans.

“I’m not looking to make Facebook double the size,” Trump told CNBC on Monday. “And if you ban TikTok, (then) Facebook and others, but mostly Facebook, will be a big beneficiary. And I think Facebook has been very dishonest.”

Meta Platforms shares were down 3.8% at $486.71 on Monday afternoon. The company declined to comment.

Trump previously criticized the company now called Meta Platforms for revoking his access to Facebook and Instagram after removing two of his posts during the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol riot. His accounts were reinstated in February 2023.

Trump also said a TikTok ban could impact young people. “There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it,” he said. “There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad with TikTok.”

President Joe Biden said last week he would sign the bill after a committee unanimously approved the measure.

TikTok, which says it has not and would not share US user data with the Chinese government, argues the House bill amounts to a ban. It is unclear if China would approve any sale or if TikTok could be divested in six months.

“This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States,” the company said on Friday. “The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said, “We must ensure the Chinese government cannot weaponize TikTok against American users and our government through data collection and propaganda.”

The bill would give ByteDance 165 days to divest TikTok. If it failed to do so, app stores operated by Apple AAPL.O, Alphabet’s GOOGL.O Google and others could not legally offer TikTok or provide Web hosting services to ByteDance-controlled applications.

In 2020, Trump sought to ban TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat but was blocked by the courts.

The app is popular and getting legislation approved by both the House and Senate in an election year may be difficult. Last month, Biden’s re-election campaign joined TikTok.

Trump’s campaign has not joined TikTok.

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