Trump boasts nearly 4M followers one day after joining TikTok

The real Donald Trump's newly launched TikTok account amassed nearly 4 million followers by Monday, barely one day after the US Republican presidential candidate joined the short video platform he previously tried to ban during his 2017-2021 presidency over national security fears.

Trump, in a close race with Democratic incumbent Joe Biden ahead of the November 5th US presidential election, joined TikTok for the first time on Saturday.

Biden's election campaign had joined TikTok in February, despite throwing full support behind lawmakers and signing a bill to ban the app on April 24th if its Chinese owner ByteDance fails to divest it.

By Monday afternoon Eastern Daylight Time, TikTok’s President Donald J Trump (@realdonaldtrump) boasted 3.9 million followers and 3.9 million likes, compared to the Biden-Harris HQ (@bidenhq) with only 346,000 followers and 4.5 million likes.

Trump joins TikTok

It’s Trump’s third bid for the White House, yet both campaigns are hoping to reach younger voters on the social media platform used by 170 million Americans.

Used by 170 million Americans, Trump posted a launch video on his account on Saturday night. The video, which now has more than 66 million views and 4 million likes, showed Trump greeting fans at an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight in Newark, New Jersey.

@realdonaldtrump Launching my TikTok at @UFC ♬ original sound - President Donald J Trump

Trump said a statement he would "use every tool available to speak directly with the American people..."

Trump already has an active social media presence with more than 87 million followers on X and over 7 million followers on his own platform, Truth Social, where he posts almost daily.

TikTok case gets fast tracked

ByteDance is challenging in court the law that requires it to sell TikTok by next January or face a ban. The White House says it wants to see Chinese-based ownership ended on national security grounds.

TikTok has argued it will not share US user data with the Chinese government and that it has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy of its users. A group of TikTok content creators have also filed suit against the bill, both lawsuits arguing that a ban would violate First Amendment rights.

Trump's attempt to ban TikTok in 2020 when he was president was blocked by the courts. He said in March that the platform was a national security threat but also that a ban on it would hurt some young people and only strengthen Meta Platforms' Facebook, which he has strongly criticized.

A US appeals court last week set a fast-track schedule to consider the legal challenges to the new law.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the case set for oral arguments in September after TikTok, ByteDance and the TikTok creators joined with the Justice Department earlier this month in asking the court for a quick schedule.