Trump campaign launches TikTok account as Truth Social stock dips

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference, the day after a guilty verdict in his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S., May 31, 2024. 

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign debuted an official account on TikTok on Saturday night, the social media platform facing a potential ban in the U.S.

“It’s my honor,” Trump said in his first TikTok post under the handle “@realdonaldtrump,” followed by a montage of him waving to crowds at a Saturday Ultimate Fighting Championship show. That post received 1.5 million likes within 10 hours of going online.

Trump’s TikTok rollout came as his own social media company, Trump Media, took a financial tumble in the wake of the historic verdict that convicted the former president on 34 felony counts in his Manhattan hush money trial.

Trump Media, the parent company of Truth Social trading under the DJT ticker, was down over 5% at market close on Friday, the day after Trump’s conviction, with shares priced at $49. Immediately following Trump’s conviction on Thursday, the stock was down roughly 15% in extended trading hours.

Trump launched Truth Social in early 2022 as an alternative, “non-woke” social media platform after he was banned from sites like Twitter and Facebook following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Since then, Trump Media has gone public and the former president now holds a 65% stake in the company.

Truth Social did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment about Trump’s move to TikTok.

Trump is several months later than his Democratic opponent, President Joe Biden, whose reelection campaign launched on TikTok in February. But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee already had over 1 million followers on Sunday, outpacing the Biden campaign’s 336,000.

“We refuse to cede any ground to Biden and the Democrats,” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement to NBC News on Sunday. “We will get President Trump’s winning message to every voter possible. He has already gained significant ground with young voters and this is another way to reach them.”

Both candidates joined TikTok despite previously vocalizing national security concerns about the app.

In April, Biden signed into law a foreign aid package with a clause to force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app or else the platform would face a national ban in the U.S.

During his administration, Trump also said he would try to ban TikTok, though he has since flipped that stance. Still, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in a March interview that he believes TikTok could threaten U.S. national security.

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