Trump Says TikTok Ban Will Benefit ‘Zuckerschmuck’

Estimated read time 4 min read
  • Trump spoke out against a bipartisan bill that would ban TikTok.
  • The former president said “Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business” without the app.
  • While in office, Trump pushed TikTok to find a US buyer or face a ban.

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Former President Donald Trump may be changing his tune about TikTok.

While the Trump administration previously pushed the app’s owner to sell its US operations or face a ban, the former president appears to be defending the platform — voicing worry that its absence could strengthen Facebook.

“If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” Trump posted on his social platform Truth Social. Trump added that he doesn’t want Facebook “doing better,” accusing the platform without evidence of cheating in the last election and calling it “a true enemy of the people.”

Trump’s comments on TikTok came amid an online stir from the app’s users who are pushing back against a proposed bipartisan bill that would ban the app in the US or force its owners to sell it to a non-Chinese company. In an attempt to drum up support, the app requested users to call Congress and protest the bill.

However, the effort appears to have backfired. After users flooded Congress with calls, all 50 lawmakers in a House panel voted to advance the bill.

The White House supports the idea — just like Trump did back when he was president.

In 2020, Trump had plans to ban the platform if the company didn’t find a US buyer by a certain deadline.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reports aboard Air Force One in 2020.

The effort ended up petering out, however, and since then Trump has clashed with the owner of a different social network: Facebook.

Trump has beef with Zuckerberg

Trump has a history of clashing with the Meta CEO.

The former president has called Zuckerberg a “criminal” without evidence and accused him of changing the course of the 2020 election through his past donations. There is no evidence that Zuckerberg’s past donations were partisan. Trump has since been indicted on four criminal cases totaling 91 felony counts, including charges related to election interference.

In 2022, the former president said “the weirdo,” referring to Zuckerberg, came to the White House for dinner during his presidency and “kissed [his] ass all night.”

Zuckerberg has voiced criticism of Trump in the past, saying he was “deeply shaken and disgusted” by some of the former president’s inflammatory posts on Facebook.

Trump was barred indefinitely from Meta’s platforms over his posts about the January 6 riot in 2021. In a Facebook post announcing the decision, Zuckerberg said the company would block his accounts on Facebook and Instagram for “at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” 

About two years later, Meta lifted the ban. Trump funded his own social platform in the meantime after being barred from both of Meta’s platforms along with Twitter.

Trump, who appears set to be the Republican nominee, has recently gained support from some Gen Z’s who are dissatisfied with President Biden and torn between the two candidates.

Musk agrees with Trump

Trump’s latest post about TikTok did draw support from one high-profile CEO: Elon Musk, who recently met with Trump in Palm Beach, Florida. The billionaire posted on X after the meeting that he wouldn’t be donating to Trump or Biden.

“Trump’s statement there is correct,” Elon Musk posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Musk isn’t a fan of Zuckerberg either. The two have had an ongoing feud since 2016 when a SpaceX rocket launch mishap ruined a Facebook satellite.

Then, in 2018 amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Musk deleted his SpaceX and Tesla Facebook accounts. He publicly posted about it with the hashtag #deletefacebook and tweeted that Facebook gave him “the willies.”

Tensions have only escalated since then, even going as far as Musk challenging Zuckerberg to a cage fight. Once Zuckerberg accepted and told Musk to name a place and time, Musk appeared to waffle and back down from the idea.