Donald Trump's presidential campaign launched Facebook ads asking for support to ban the video sharing app TikTok, which was being screened for security issues.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the government is considering banning Chinese social media apps like TikTok because of security concerns that have plagued the app. Trump's campaign appears to be asking supporters to join the cause.
The Facebook ads with pictures that say "TikTok is spying on you" were shared on Twitter by ABC News 'Will Steakin and New York Times' Taylor Lorenz.
NEW: Trump places anti-TikTok ads on Facebook and asks supporters to sign a petition to ban the pic.twitter.com/hblOeUprar app
– Will Steakin (@wsteaks), July 18, 2020
Trump is now running anti-TikTok Facebook / Instagram ads accusing the company of spying on users pic.twitter.com/dfHuSVpciL
– Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz), July 17, 2020
"TikTok was caught red-handed while monitoring what's on your phone's clipboard," the ad text says, referring to a security issue that Apple's iOS 14 also has in other apps like AccuWeather, AliExpress and Call of Duty Mobile was discovered, Google News, Overstock and Patreon as well as LinkedIn and Reddit.
The ads are asking people to sign a petition to support discussions about banning TikTok. However, according to Lorenz, the link leads to a survey that collects the information of a person to add to a mailing list. "These ads are basically fueling sentiment against TikTok / China and misleading users to improve Trump's mailing list," he said.
The ads have been paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again committee and are aimed primarily at ages 18 to 64, Bloomberg reported, citing information from Facebook's ad library.
White House vs. TikTok
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said recently that the White House could act against Chinese apps like TikTok within weeks, not months, as they are currently being reviewed for national security risks.
Meanwhile, experts told Digital Trends that TikTok is no more dangerous than other social media apps or online services, but is picked out because of its connection to China.