Trump campaign launches scathing adverts calling for TikTok ban

TikTok logo
TikTok logo (Image credit: TikTok)

What you need to know

  • President Trump has launched a scathing new ad campaign against TikTok.
  • It says that TikTok has "been caught red handed" monitoring iOS clipboards.
  • The U.S. has repeatedly raised concerns about TikTok's ties to China, and has previously floated the idea of a ban.

A new ad campaign from President Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on TikTok, and calls for Americans to sign a petition to ban the app.

Over on Facebook, political adverts 'Paid for by Trump Make America Great Again Committee' and state:

TikTok has been caught red handed by monitoring what is on your phone's clipboard.Sign the petition now to BAN TikTok.

The advert does not mention that TikTok is one of may iOS apps caught clipboard snooping, or that TikTok has since fixed the issue. The campaign follows comments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, stating that the U.S. was considering banning the video platform over fears about privacy and the app's ties to China. From that report:

In a Fox News interview, Pompeo was asked if the U.S. should be considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, to which he replied:"We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it.""We have worked on this very issue for a long time."

Secretary Pompeo noted America's response to the issue of Huawei 5G hardware, and said that "with respect to Chinese apps on peoples' cellphones, the United States will get this one right too."

As Bloomberg notes:

The ads were paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and primarily target users aged 18 to 64, with the largest percentage of views seemingly coming from election battleground states such as Texas and Florida, according to Facebook's ad library.

Sneakily, it seems that the ad campaign is less of a petition, and more of a mailing list sign-up trawl. When users click to sign the "petition" they are simply taken to a survey where they are asked the question and told to add their info so they can be put on a mailing list.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9